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Yes, I know I am a little premature since April Fools' Day is still a few days away, but impetuous me wants to be the first one in Queens to begin the April Fool-ery. April Fool gems - A love note was dropped on the desk of the office nerd supposedly written by the pretty receptionist.This day is one of my favorites because it gives April Fools (like myself) the foolish opportunity to play April Fools on others. So, readers, beware of the monkeyshines invented by us pranksters. We will telephone your office and have you believe that water is seeping into your basement. We will e-mail you that an alligator just swallowed a subway worker. And, we will telephone out-of- town friends that Northern Boulevard is covered with green snow.TV stations will be besieged with calls that their programs were being played upside downLast April 1, even I was taken in by my neighbor Lou's caper telling of the man who won an around-the-world cruise in a raffle but refused to accept his prize because he had no way of getting back. Lou, your shoelaces are untied.Boss's bottom office drawers will be filled with rubber chickens.Historically, this day of sanctioned mischief and chicanery has been mostly fun and games but at times does get out of hand. I recall the story of workers in a Georgia chemical plant placing a rubber snake above an unpopular manager's office door. He didn't come to work that day, but the snake dropped onto the shoulders of the night cleaning lady. She fell screaming to the floor, smacked her head on the printer and passed out. The company paid her medical bills. She quit the following day. A woman sent a postcard to her credit card company stating "Check enclosed." Other popular pranks include office doors covered over with drywall to appear that they never existed, faxes sent to employees notifying them that they were fired and, the worst of all: I received a letter, supposedly from the New York Football Giants, notifying me that they canceled my season tickets subscription for next year. I'll never rest until I find the scoundrel who committed this dastardly hoax. When I do, you'll never read another column of mine. I'll be busy working the laundry room at Attica State prison. Secreted plastic tubes were placed under office furniture and stroked to produce a funny noise when speaking to an associate. But the day certainly has its supporters. Some management consultants say April Fools' jokes can help relieve stress and improve morale. One even contends that all CEOs should come to work in their pajamas and a rubber nose at least once a year. (Publisher Steve Blank, take note).Streakers running fully clothed through nudist colonies.Capers such as these have been a staple in the business world for many years. A large accounting firm even mails out "prank" letters annually to all its clients and friends. Last year it reported that the U.S. government had just raised the retirement age to 82. And, in previous years, the firm announced that in order to save money it would stop using computers and return to the typewriter. It also said the Supreme Court had declared the income tax law unconstitutional. My hair stylist played a joke on an airline. He purchased a round-trip ticket to London and promptly returned home by boat.They subscribe to the theory that humor pays off and most (note I said "most") people love an April Fools' gag at their expense. Hmm, do any readers disagree? My friend Morris ordered an expensive dinner at a classy restaurant, and walked out without eating it.Last year an e-mail network encouraged consumers to send people a free e-mail from a collection of prank messages in their "prank vault." More than 30,000 consumers a day registered on its web. I haven't checked, but I hope they are still around.How and why did all this "mish-a-goss" begin? Many explanations have been offered for the custom of playing practical jokes on the first day in April, but there is agreement on only one of them ... it has something to do with the observance of the spring equinox. And I always thought that spring was only when a young man's fancy turned to love. Readers, I leave you thinking about how many laughs you will receive on April Fools' Day.Contact Alex Berger and share your pranks at www.timesledger.com

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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