Volcanic April Fool’s

On the topic of April Fool’s Day gags, here’s the best one I’ve ever, ever heard. It was told to me by Captain Simon, the skipper on the fishing boat I was on for my salmon quest last summer up in Sitka, Alaska. If you’re into eating fish, the trip cost 1,900 bucks, with three full days of ocean fishing. I came back with 110 pounds of the most delicious king salmon coho salmon, and halibut I’ve ever had the pleasure to consume. All cleaned, packaged, flash frozen and boxed. Unbelievably good eats. So if you figure it was 20 bucks a pound, which is not out of line, since it really was that good, I came home with 2,200 bucks worth of fish. So what looked like an expensive lark in July turned out to be a heckuva deal.

OK, where was I? Yeah, we were headed out to sea one day, chugging past the dormant volcano that looms over Sitka, Mount Edgecumbe, and Simon said (sorry) that there was one year back in the ’70s when a local joker had a monster great idea. The joker was inspired to drop, via helicopter, a bunch of old tires in the crater of Edgecumbe during the last days of March. Then, on April 1st, he made his move. He somehow managed to get those tires ignited and on fire, which, of course, sent up a considerable plume of ominous black smoke. And, being a tire fire, it lasted for quite a while. Certainly long enough to catch the eye of locals who couldn’t help but notice on that morning. Well, was the long dormant Edgecumbe coming back to life? Is it time to pack, panic and pray? An insta-classic. And probably a gag worth more than a few drinks that day.

As a kicker, rumor has it that when Mt. St. Helens blew its stack in 1980, a local got the notorious Sitka prankster on the phone and told him, “This time, you’ve gone too far!”


Seeing all these folks lining up to try and win that $600 million Mega Millions jackpot last week, I am inspired to comment on the underlying lunacy of it all. I mean, why aren’t people lining up to buy tickets to win, say, 50 mill? Ya know? I mean, what, $50 million is too dinky of a jackpot and not worthy of a trip to Gold Ranch? “Yeah, I’m living in a double-wide down by the river, but generally speaking, I can’t be bothered with some paltry eight-digit jackpot. I do have my pride. Basically, I won’t get off my ass and line up to buy 72 tickets until that pot is up to around, oh, I don’t know, 200, 300 million.” Come on, dude! I look at the photo of all these mokes standing in line, and I swear there’s not a one of them who wouldn’t positively poop in his or her drawers to win even ONE stinkin’ million dollars. As Art Linkletter used to say, people are the darndest dumbasses. OK, I’m paraphrasing Art right there …