Sunday, April 01, 2012

Foolish story

Now, a quick story about one of my few April Fool's Day pranks over the years.

Back in the mid-1980's, when I worked for WEBR Radio in Buffalo, we had people frequently coming and going. OK, at times we needed revolving doors, which is why that was the unofficial name of our softball team. Mike St. Peter, our news director at the time, was in charge of writing the memos to inform that staff about the latest departure.

So one April 1, I came back to the office after a game of some sort. It was 10 o'clock at night. I finished my job duties, and then went to work.

I started typing fake memos in Mike's exact style -- one for every person in the news department. Employees were off to California, the Buffalo Bills, NPR, Associated Press Radio, wherever. Since the statute of limitations has expired, I can now reveal that Sarah Britton walked in on me during the creative process, so I had to explain things. Sarah quickly volunteered to help come up with destinations for staffers. By the way, every memo's last paragraph started with "We obviously have a need for a {insert job here, like editor, etc.}." Every memo was dated April 1, by the way.

Once that was done, I took the pile of announcements and carefully placed them in each company mailbox. The careful part was that announcement A went into mailbox B, announcement B went into mailbox C, etc. I tried to put the news about afternoon crew workers in the morning staff's mailboxes, etc. to create a little more, um, confusion.

Then I quietly left the building, not to return until 1 p.m. or so.

The next morning, bombs started going off at 5 a.m.

John Gill walked in the office, looked at Greg Mott, and said, "YOU CAN'T GO!!!" People were running up to others and demanding hugs from confused staff members. Marc Chodorow was angry that he didn't get a memo on another person's departure that someone else had mentioned.

At 1 p.m., I stepped quietly in the back door and into the former garage area. I said, "Is it safe?" Marc practically applauded when he saw me. I looked a little sheepish when I saw Mike, but he kind of smirked at me as in "OK, nice job." Mike later sent out a memo that read something like, "I give up, no more memos for this crowd."

I figured that one was tough to top, so I got out of the April Fool's Day business. For a while.

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