That One Time an Earthquake was Funny


Just once I played April Fools. I don’t consider myself the most creative prankster. But I do have this one story. And only this one – so if prank stories are being shared, this is my one trick pony. But it’s a good pony.

See, we staged an earthquake. Yes, an earthquake.

I know, I know, earthquakes aren’t funny. But sometimes they are. 


It was late on the night of March 31 when we three friends sat and plotted. With the morning of April 1 nearly upon us, time was running short to come up with a plan to prank my roommate. She was my most adorable roommate ever, so this wasn’t a plan to scare her so much as to use April Fools Day to draw out even more cuteness and get a good laugh – with her, not at her. At least that was the plan. I think that’s usually the plan with jokes.

I still don’t know quite how we landed on the idea of “stage an earthquake”, but it sounded funny. We’d wake her up, ruffle her feathers a bit, and see how long we could pull it off. We had no idea how successful we’d be.

So when my roommate decided to go to bed, we went to work on the house. We knocked over furniture and plants, shuffled dishes to the edge of the cabinet, readjusted pictures to hang crooked, and even unplugged the clock and the microwave so they’d all be blinking as if there’d just been an outage.

We looked around and were pretty proud of ourselves – the place was trashed. We then set our alarms for a 4am wakeup call.

Come 4am, we three rubbed the sleep from our eyes and entered her room with a bang. We threw on the lights and asked rushed questions … Are you ok? Oh my gosh, is everyone ok? Are you hurt? Where’s the gas, does anyone smell gas …

She bolted. And I mean BOLTED out of bed, discombobulated and, of course, adorable. She quickly took it all in, but said she hadn’t felt anything. How did you not feel that? Our voices were incredulous.

We walked through the house, with her gasping at the disarray. The knocked over plants, the dishes that teetered on the edge of safety, and the blinking clocks. Us walking behind her, also “shocked”, as in “super proud of ourselves”.

She just kept repeating “I don’t know how I slept through this … We don’t know how you did, either. It’s … bizarre.

Now there was one problem. The shelves above her bed. They were lined with trinkets and books. Heavy things. Things that were still sitting there perfectly in place in an otherwise “shook up” house. When she pointed this out, we figured the gig was up. But it had been fun while it lasted.

But then it kept lasting with this: “The Lord must have protected me!” And we just couldn’t deny that. I mean, who wants to take credit away from the Lord who protected her sweet head from falling books during an earthquake?

And then this: she. called. her. mom. To check up on her. Oh man, once the moms are involved it’s all over. It’s still 4 in the morning. But turns out Mom was okay – she hadn’t felt it either.

The three of us gathered in the corner while she told Mom about our destroyed house and how weird that it could be so big here but Mom didn’t even feel it. We had to decide what our next move would be. How long to let this play. Because really, it was getting funnier and funnier. To us.

So we let it go. Just a little longer. We sat and told stories of earthquakes past, with a determination to wake up the next morning and nip it in the bud over waffles.

Well, that plan was short lived. There were no waffles. She left early with one of the pranksters to get to Church early. And that’s where it got really funny. To us. Because the prankster ran inside before my roommate could, and told everyone she could find “If she asks you about an earthquake, tell her you felt it.”

So by the time I got to Church, I received this report: “This is weird. There was nothing on the radio about the earthquake, which you’d think there would be, you know? And Justin felt it up in Long Beach – said his bookcase fell over – but Melissa didn’t feel anything in Irvine. Kim felt it in Costa Mesa, though, so it’s weird.” Yeah, weird, I said, trying to not feel too guilty for how funny this was and loving Justin for his bookcase story.

“So, I’m wondering if it was a sonic boom”, she says – “because of the weird pattern, you know?” Uhhh, yeah, weird pattern. I mean, I just wish you could have seen how adorable she was as she tried to chart out this map of a new fault line.

This is when I knew we were in trouble. This was getting bigger than our plan, and she was working really hard to understand it. Either we needed to tell her now. Or never. We chose to capitalize on the moment, have our laugh, and welcome her into the joke.

It was hilarious. To us. Not so much to her – at least not at the time, because it just fed embarrassment. I don’t think she spoke to me for several days after that.

But she’s still talking to me now, and remains one of my closest – and still among the cutest – friends.

So that’s my one April Fools’ Day story. Just the one.

What about you? Got any good April Fools’ Day stories?


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