Story by Kathy Collins | Illustration by Matt Foster
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I slap yo’ head.” — ancient tita proverb
Sorry for pull da atta-tita-tude, but April Fool’s Day comin’ up fas’, an’ I no like nobody make one fool outta me. I no need help fo’ do dat.
I notice da guys on da ray-djo, they like da kine April Fool’s pranks. Last year, one DJ on da Big Island wen’ make plenny humbug fo’ da cops when he wen’ announce dat Saddle Road was closed ‘cause of one lava flow. Da police an’ Civil Defense had to go make their own announcements fo’ calm ev’rybody down.
See, ovah heah, you not s’pose to make jokes about natchroh disastahs. Too much people remembah da 1946 April Fool’s Day tsunami, even us guys who no was born yet. I wen’ learn about ‘em from my fam’ly an’ from school. Da waves wen’ come aftah one humongous eart’quake in da Aleutian Islands, an’ ovah heah, nevah have no warning. Even when people seen da firs’ wave come in, and they wen’ try fo’ spread da word, ev’rybody thought was one April Fool’s joke.
Was da mos’ deadly tsunami in Hawai‘i hist’ry; 159 guys wen ma-ke die dead, 14 on Maui. Aftah dat, da U.S. wen’ set up da Pacific Tsunami Warning Centah. Tsunamis is no joke.
Mo’ bettah pull da kine pranks like J. Akuhead Pupule. Aku was one local legend, da mos’ famous an’ da mos’ populah ray-djo announcah in Hawai‘i from da 1950s until he wen’ ma-ke in 1983. One a da firs’ April Fool’s jokes he wen’ play was back in 1954, five years befo’ we wen’ become one state. Aku wen’ announce dat da statehood bill wen’ pass, an’ da Senate was goin’ refund everybody’s income tax. Da IRS office wen’ call da ray-djo station fo’ complain ‘cause they was getting’ slammed wit’ phone calls about when da refund was goin’ come. Da station boss wen’ fire Aku on da air dat day, but dat wen’ turn out fo’ be one April Fool’s joke, too.
Da last April Fool’s prank dat Aku went pull was da bes’ one evah. Dat year, April Fool’s Day was on Good Friday. Aku wen’ announce dat one Eastah Parade was comin’ down Ala Moana Boulevard, all da way to Waikiki. He wen’ use da recording of one Kamehameha Day parade, wit’ marching bands an’ all, in da background. Couple, t’ree t’ousand people wen’ drop what they was doin’ an’ rush down fo’ line up on da sidewalks. Thirty years later, people still talk about da time their parents wen’ take ‘em fo’ see da parade dat nevah did come.
My maddah nevah have one ray-djo show, but she was one prankstah, too. I nevah goin’ fo’get da April Fool’s breakfast she wen’ make fo’ me when I was maybe seven, eight years old. Da orange juice was colored watah, and had salt in da sugar bowl fo’ put on top my oatmeal. An’ when I wen’ tap my hard-boiled egg on top da table fo’ crack ‘em, da bugga was raw. I was so frustrated, I wen’ start fo’ cry. My maddah had tears in her eyes, too, ‘cause she was laughin’ so hard. But no worry, aftah she wen’ clean up da mess, she wen’ make pancakes, my favorite. Real kine, wit’ plenny Log Cabin syrup.
So now you know why I get kinda cranky on April Fool’s Day. No mattah how hard I try, I no can come up wit’ pranks as good as my maddah’s. Hmm. I t’ink I goin’ invite some friends ovah fo’ one April Fool’s breakfast. You like come?