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Some tricks worth considering--no foolin'!

Saturday is April Fools' Day. It used to be big when I was growing up; people would take the time to plan and carry out these elaborate gags on their friends, family or (in my neighborhood) certain members of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Over the past couple decades, it has lost its absurdist edge and is having trouble competing with reality, seeing as how we've elected not one, but two, members of the Bush family as president and, at yesterday's count, there are at least five separate magazines on the store shelves with cover shots of someone who used to be Britney Spears.

My friends and I used to play pranks on each other all the time. One Oct. 30, after football practice, we all said that we'd wear Halloween costumes to school the next day. Later that night, all of us but one communicated with each other, and we all showed up dressed normally, while this one guy showed up dressed as a pirate.

What's really cool is that the next year, we all said the same thing, and we assured that one guy that it wasn't a gag. So, we all showed up in costume, and he came to school dressed normally. If you can get 2-for-1 on the same gag, that's money.

In an effort to restore the pageantry and importance to the day, please answer "YES" or "NO" to the following statements as to whether they would make good April Fools' jokes.

1. The media report that the vice president of the United States goes hunting without a license, shoots one of his hunting buddies and then doesn't report it until a day later.

2. After the story from No. 1 gets out, the veep gets all indignant, goes on Fox News to slant his story, and then gets an apology from the guy he shot.

3. Bush vetoes something. Anything.

4. Osama bin Laden tells Al-Jazeera that for the past four years, he's been working as one of those guys who operates the rides in those itinerant carnivals that show up here every now and then. He calls it "hide in plain sight of oblivious kids and sorta creeped-out parents."

5. The people at the post office have enough people working the windows so that you don't have to re-create that scene from Beetlejuice where they're calling No. 3, and your ticket is in the 10 millions.

6. The merchants on Fourth Avenue hold their own version of a Renaissance Faire, but instead of harking back to the Middle Ages, they just have street performers who are stuck in the mid-'60s.

7. You could build or refurbish something downtown so that it would appear that the Rio Nuevo thing is actually going to happen.

ANSWERS

1. NO. This, of course, would be the worst April Fools' gag of all time. Even in this bizarre day and age, stuff has to be grounded in some semblance of reality. There's no way the vice president of the United States would go hunting without a license. Nor would he shoot anybody, and as media savvy as he is, he wouldn't risk a backlash by failing to report it for 24 hours.

2. NO. This is a trick question. If the first part is ridiculous; the second part is even more so, since it's built on the first one. Apology, indeed. (Actually, did you hear what the guy from CNN said when Cheney went on Fox News? He said it was like Bonnie interviewing Clyde.)

3. YES. This would be a great one. Just think of the scare he could throw into those spend-crazy Republicans in Congress. But he's gone more than five years without ever doing it, so it's unlikely he'll pull that lever.

4. YES. He could even tell them when he'll be back on the carnie circuit and exactly when he'll be in Tucson. The Bush administration will take that information and use it as a basis to invade Lebanon.

5. NO! For God's sake, no! T-h-o-s-e ... p-e-o-p-l-e ... w-o-r-k ... a-t ... a ... c-e-r-t-a-i-n ... p-a-c-e. Any attempt at disrupting that (you'll pardon the expression) flow could have a catastrophic effect on the U.S. Postal Service. And dammit, I need to get my Sports Illustrated every Thursday ... or Friday, or sometimes the following week, and occasionally not at all, although I get my neighbor's gardening magazine instead.

6. YES. This would be a classic. You could do it for years before anybody caught on. You could have your strategically placed street folks walk around stating the fair's slogan: "Huzzah! You got any spare change?"

7. NO. That would be a hoot, though. But it could never happen. To pull off a gag of that magnitude, you'd need hundreds of millions of dollars, and where are you going to get that kind of money? From the state Legislature? Yeah, right.

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