A Fondness For Fools

Editor Rick Broussard

Photo by John Hession

After a long, weird winter filled with news of global upheaval, aren't you glad that the calendar has one month each year with a sense of humor? And if you think that April Fool's Day is just a human invention, let me remind you of last year's April Fool's snowstorm that closed schools, sent cars sliding and took out power for nearly 60,000 New England homes.

Funny stuff.

Of course, New Hampshire is famous for its stoic attitude to such indignities. We are, in effect, the perfect straight man for life's absurdities. That may account for the peculiar number of nationally famous comedians we've produced - like Adam Sandler, Seth and Josh Meyers, Sarah and Laura Silverman and Juston McKinney. Oh, and don't forget Berlin, NH's Earl Silas Tupper who invented Tupperware, the original "burping" container. That one device influenced an entire generation of young comedians to explore the humor of sounds produced by body gas.

Being an upright and sophisticated publication, New Hampshire Magazine has never attempted to foist an April Fool's prank on our readers. The closest we've come is when a certain assistant editor who shall not be named for fear of reprisals forgot to place one of the four newts we hide in each issue for our eager Newt prize hunters to stalk. Believe me, newt hunters with eye strain are not a good humored group.

Being so respectable, however, does not prevent us from appreciating a good lowbrow stunt skillfully played. One of my favorite took place at highbrow Dartmouth College, executed by the staff of the Jack-O-Lantern humor magazine.

On a sunny afternoon in 2006, a flock of students and parents was being led on a spring tour of the placid campus. Suddenly a panel truck drove by with a loudspeaker announcing "It's Drinking Time!" over and over. The student guide seemed taken aback, but continued pointing out various campus features. Then, out of buildings and side streets and bushes streamed a hundred or more students, running after the van, shouting, gleefully, "It's Drinking Time!" The tour guide had his wits about him enough to tell the group of parents (with their snickering kids) that, such stunts aside, Dartmouth has no more of a drinking problem than other colleges. Just then, the sound of a parade appeared and the Jack-O-Lantern's mascot, an anthropomorphic beer keg named Keggy, joyously waving a drum major's baton, led a troupe of reveling students past the tour group with band music playing as they all happily sang, "It's Drinking Time!"

At that point the film, shot from multiple angles by Jack-O-Lantern staff, fades to black. Just Google "It's Drinking Time" if you want to see it or click here to watch.

Ah, lovely spring. Thou dost make fools of us all.

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