It started out as a preposterous idea – moving the lighthouse from the Main Lake to the Main Gate. A perfect story for April Fool’s Day, right? The front page story for the April 1 issue was intended to get readers’ attention and prepare them for further pranks inside the once-per-decade issue.
But not wanting to make people angry right off the bat, the story was tempered with an idea Canyon Lakers might actually like: replace the relocated lighthouse with a simple water park with splash pad and water slides using recycled lake water.
That idea was embellished with a lazy river track and removable ski cable for ski shows. The ploy backfired. Who knew the idea would be so popular readers were actually disappointed when it was a joke – and that the writer would be accused of pranking an actual water park idea proposed by someone on the Recreation Committee?
Then there was humor columnist Pat Van Dyke’s fake platform to run for the POA Board of Directors. Some people took Pat’s Evaporation Prevention Program (PEPP) plan seriously, which is hysterical in itself. Really? Bubble wrap in front of waterfront properties to reduce lake evaporation? Swimmers being required to take a gallon of store-bought water to the pool for admission?
However, in all seriousness, some people at church asked Pastor Pete Van Dyke for campaign signs; and one Facebook poster wrote, “Wow. We do not need more silly rules. Poor mother with two young kids wanting to go to the pool with one child in her arms and three gallons of water. I think it might be better to force everyone when they get out of pool to remove all swimwear and wring it out into the pool . . .”
The article about a sequel to “The Birds” being filmed in Canyon Lake was pretty believable considering the creepy photos of cormorants submitted by various photographers. But we’re not sure anyone read beyond the headline, since there weren’t many comments on that one. It was a way to show off the pictures and tell a story about former The Friday Flyer reporter Georgia Zermeno (that part of the story was true).
Then there was an obscure announcement about Facebook listing Canyon Lake in the top 100 of “small cities” whose residents take advantage of the social media site to stay informed of community events and sentiments. You had to read the website address to know the story was a joke.
Fortunately, the Facebook prank served the dual purpose of letting readers know about some very real and popular Canyon Lake discussion sites on Facebook. And we’re pretty sure if Facebook did give such an award, Canyon Lake would be up there at the top. This is a very “connected” community.
Finally, despite the very clear warning in the headline and opening paragraph, some readers still reacted to the fake “News Briefs” that were reprinted from the April 1, 2005 issue of The Friday Flyer, when then-editor Carolyn Knight came up with some zingers!
About the “POA decision” Carolyn wrote about to turn the Lodge restaurant over to a McDonald’s franchise, one Facebook poster wrote, “Someone please tell me that I’m misunderstanding what I’m reading in the Flyer today that McDonald’s is NOT taking over our lodge!!!!!!! There is a “Restaurant news” section on page B-11, that says the Board has decided that that McDonalds should take over our restaurant!!!!! Are you kidding me!!! I will NEVER go back!!!!!!!! I am convinced now, I’m putting my house on the market…. This board is out of control!!!!!”
Well, needless to say, we hope readers had fun with last week’s issue and weren’t too upset about the mixture of real news with prank news.
As Pat Van Dyke says, “The only bummer is that the next Friday, April 1 isn’t until 2022!” That’s the year the Lake Lease is up for renewal. Hmm, that will make an interesting front page story.