Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fooled

It's April 1st - you know what THAT means.

Yep, it's a license for people to pull inane practical jokes that tend to get stale by, oh, say 8:30 AM. (Hey - your shoe's untied. MADE YOU LOOK! April FOOL! Bwahahahahaha!)

Oh boy, you got me. Whoo-ha. Good one.

To be fair, I have engaged in this national (global?) nonsense too. My favorite was the annual scare-the-wife-with-a-bug gag. (Hey, is that a spider on you? . . .) Yeah, it wore thin with her, too.

I must confess, I gave consideration to at an April Fool's post for Coffee-Stained Memos. I even made an attempt - sort of. To say the effort was a dismal failure would be, well, accurate.

My plan was to do a "retro-writing tools" post with an homage to President Lincoln. Why? You may ask. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I got out a shovel from the shop with the intent of reviewing it as a notebook. (Surely you remember that old Abe did his homework on the back of a shovel? And George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and threw it across the Potomac? Or paid someone a silver dollar to do it for him - my memory fails me.) Anyway, back to the shovel. Lacking any handy coal, I tried a piece of charcoal and attempted to write, "Abe was here," on said shovel. I quickly learned that charcoal may be an acceptable writing medium on paper, but it's a total FAIL when it comes to a grime-covered digging implement.

Not to be deterred, I tried burning the end of a stick to create a rustic writing implement. Unfortunately, the stick was either too green, too wet or some combination that rendered it nonflammable. By this point, I was providing entertainment for our Border Collie but accomplishing little else. I considered and rejected the notion of trying a fountain pen, and finally decided on a Sharpie. So . . . with all this preliminary stuff out of the way, here are my findings:

Shovels are not the best available writing materials. They have the upside of being durable and weatherproof, but these small advantages wane compared to the overwhelming downsides.

Shovels do not lie flat when writing, they are difficult to fold and nigh impossible to fit in a pocket. They are cumbersome, do not take ink well (even a Sharpie proved only minimally legible) and lack an elastic closure. Writing space is limited as a shovel only offers the equivalent of four pages (okay, maybe eight if you're used to a pocket-size notebook.) In short, if you need something on which to collect your thoughts, keep a to-do list or do your homework, the shovel is probably the last option you should seek. Okay, rakes may be worse, but you get my point.

I'm beginning to think someone was pulling my leg about this whole Abe Lincoln homework on a shovel story.


  1. John,
    Don't know if you've seen it yet, but I could not help myself to post a april fools day post for our store's blog:
    It was really last minute and when I asked my boss to take a look at it, he thought I was serious until he read the end.

  2. Heh. I like the warranty against nib-clogging and the Lo-Jack chip.