April 1, 2008

Okay, I’m caving

After reading everyone’s fun April Fool’s posts (and getting tricked by a lot of them), I decided to join in the fun and post an actual April Fool’s post instead of just something amusing. However, one does have to do with running, and one does have to do with drinking, and I’m warning you in advance that it’s a joke. These actually come from a list of the Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time.

The 26-Day Marathon: In 1981 the Daily Mail ran a story about an unfortunate Japanese long-distance runner, Kimo Nakajimi, who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles. The Daily Mail reported that Nakajimi was now somewhere out on the roads of England, still running, determined to finish the race. Supposedly various people had spotted him, though they were unable to flag him down. The translation error was attributed to Timothy Bryant, an import director, who said, “I translated the rules and sent them off to him. But I have only been learning Japanese for two years, and I must have made a mistake. He seems to be taking this marathon to be something like the very long races they have over there.

What I find especially funny about this is that non-runners would probably read that and know it was a hoax, because they think no one could ever run for 26 days. Runners who read that would simply think that Kimo was trying to follow in the footsteps of Dean Karnazes, and would believe it. Does that make us the gullible ones?

Drunk Driving on the Internet: An article by John Dvorak in the April 1994 issue of PC Computing magazine described a bill going through Congress that would make it illegal to use the internet while drunk, or to discuss sexual matters over a public network. The bill was supposedly numbered 040194 (i.e. 04/01/94), and the contact person was listed as Lirpa Sloof (April Fools backwards). The article said that the FBI was going to use the bill to tap the phone line of anyone who “uses or abuses alcohol” while accessing the internet. Passage of the bill was felt to be certain because “Who wants to come out and support drunkenness and computer sex?” The article offered this explanation for the origin of the bill: “The moniker ‘Information Highway’ itself seems to be responsible for SB 040194… I know how silly this sounds, but Congress apparently thinks being drunk on a highway is bad no matter what kind of highway it is.” The article generated so many outraged phone calls to Congress that Senator Edward Kennedy’s office had to release an official denial of the rumor that he was a sponsor of the bill.

No drinking and blogging? If this were true, I wouldn’t have any witty content. (Not that I have much now)


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