In 1996, AOL pulled a prank on their 5.5 million users, announcing that life had been discovered--on Mars!

Unfortunately, a few months later, this turned out to be true--so in 1997, to celebrate the holiday, they just created keyword "April Fool". It had some AOL-produced content--like pranks you would pull on celebrities. ("Al Gore: Send him a case of ' Hair in a Can'. Jenny McCarthy: Send her a case of 'Brain in the Can.') But its central feature was an April Fool's message board for AOLers.

To test it out, I visited one of the folders -- "Your Best Prank Ever". But no matter how hard I tried, I could never forget that I was on AOL.

Subj: funnee one!!!!!!!!!

send someone a bunch of magazine subscriptions.


Put dye in their hair gel! ITS FUNNY!!!!!



Subj: toilet

put saran wrap on the toilet and when somebodys got to go........

Subj: Re:toilet

that was mine!

I came in late to this thread--but I realized it didn't make much of a difference.

Subj: Re:Broken arm

that's a good one!

In 1995, chat represented 40% of AOL's usage, Ted Leonsis conceded recently. In fact, AOL's bulletin boards display messages chronologically--rather than by thread. Combine those two factors with 8 million users--and you've got a recipe for....something.

Re-creation of an actual AOL thread.

that was soooo funny!!

"What is it?"

That would be good!!!!! Hilarious, even!

lol thats good

ROFLMAO!!!!! Good one

that's mean!

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the first post in the thread. But no matter. In the points-for-trying department.....

Subj: Read this please

aPRIL f00L'S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HA HA HA HA MADE CHA L00K

Before leaving, I selected one more prank at random. The subject line read "Jewelry Box"

It looked auspicious. The first sentence remarked that "it was sooooo funny!" Then the sublime plan unfolded....

"What you need is one of those little jewlery boxes or some typr that you get earrings in a shovel and dog poop."

Er, dare we move on to "what to do:"

"go outside with your little jewelry box and pick up the dog poop with your shovel and put the poop inside that little box, then you put it on teh side of the road and wait for the fun to begin"

Sage advice followed: "make sure you are outside when it hapens so you can see teh expression on his/her face."

A humorous side note: the poster's user profile was written entirely in caps.

The headline for keyword "April Fools" on AOL read "Pranks. Gags. Fun. Yeah." But one final post succinctly captured the area's flavor.

Subj: Re:My most successful prank.


Life on AOL - Part I
Life on AOL - Part II
Sneak Preview: Part III
Sneak Preview: Part IV
Life on AOL - Part V
Life on AOL - Part VI
Life on AOL - Part VII
Life on AOL - Part VIII
Life on AOL - Part IX
Life on AOL - Part X
Life on AOL - Part XI
Life on AOL - Part XII
Life on AOL - Part XIII
Life on AOL - Part XIV
Life on AOL - Part XV
Life on AOL - Part XVI
Life on AOL - Part XVII
Life on AOL - Part XVIII

Life on AOL - Part XX

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