Goober was asked by the editor of the paper that I work for if he would write a special column for April Fool’s Day. You can find the paper’s website here. Goober’s article is presented below.
Mr. Chuck, the nice man who owns this paper, is letting me write a column since he is leaving for South Dakota for a few days. Because today is the first day of April, I thought I would tell you about some nice things to do for your friends today.
You can tape magnets to the bottom of an empty coffee cup, and attach it to the top of your car. Laugh at all the people who frantically try to get your attention as you drive by.
Set your friend’s alarm clock for the middle of the night and hide it somewhere in the room where they will have to get up and scramble around to turn it off. (This works even better if you sneak in after they go to sleep and unscrew the light bulb in their lamp. Then they’ll have to search for the clock in the dark!)
If your friend still has a phone with a hook that presses down when the handset is in the cradle, tape it down. When he or she answers a call it will keep ringing.
Take about 20 (or more) paper or plastic cups, place them on your friend’s desk and fill them with water. Then take a stapler and staple them all together. You can also put the cups on the floor blocking their door, or just about anywhere.
Leave a phone message for the victim that says that a “Mr. Lyon” called (or Mr. Behr also works), and wants to be called back. Then list the phone number of a local zoo.
You could take all of your friend’s paperclips and string them together in one chain.
Did your friend have a major project due today? Did they leave it out where you can find it? Just take some paper that looks somewhat similar to their project. Set their real project aside, and spill a drink or something messy all over the fake project.
Or you could…
What Mr. Chuck? You want me to do what? But nobody’s will want to read about that, History is boring. * sigh *
Mr. Chuck is making me tell you about the history of April Fool’s Day.
April Fool’s Day or All Fool’s Day began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under King Charles Ix. I don’t know why King Ix changed the calendar but he did. He moved New Year’s Day from March 25 – April 1 (new year’s week? Why did it take them a week to celebrate New Year’s Day? Maybe that’s why he changed it). to January 1. Mainly because he wanted New York people to freeze outside while they watched that big ball drop.
Not everyone knew about this new calendar right away. Communication traveled slowly back then because the Internet had not been invented yet. Some peoples were only informed of the change several years later. Other people who knew about the change but didn’t like the government telling them what to do, were more rebellious and refused to acknowledge the change. They continued to celebrate the New Year in the spring on April 1.
All of these peoples who celebrated New Year’s in April were called “fools” by everybody who celebrated the New Year in January by freezing. The peoples who celebrated in the spring were made fun of and sent on “fool errands” and had other practical jokes played on them.
This changed over time and a custom of prank-playing continued on the first day of April even after everybody started to celebrate the new year by freezing in January. This tradition eventually spread to places like to England and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because America is a big country and peoples all over the world like to do what Americans do (they don’t like it when we tell them what to do) April Fool’s Day has become a world wide holiday. Each country celebrates the holiday in its own way because they want to be different.
In Scotland, for instance, April Fool’s Day is devoted to pranks involving your bottom end and as such is called Taily Day. The butts (no pun intended) of these jokes are known as April ‘Gowk’, another name for cuckoo bird. Does that mean the “Kick Me” sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance?
In England, jokes are played only in the morning. I don’t know why people play jokes in the morning. I think you’d be better to stay up late and play jokes on the peoples still in bed. Anyway England ‘fools’ are called ‘gobs’ or ‘gobby’ and the victim of a joke is called a ‘noodle.’ It was considered bad luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon. The best way to avoid being an April Fool in England is to sleep late.
In Rome, April Fool’s Day is called the Festival of Hilaria and takes place on March 25. Why the Romans have April Fool’s Day in March is something I don’t know. It celebrates the resurrection of the god Attis, and is also referred to as “Roman Laughing Day.”
In Portugal, April Fool’s Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends. That’s not a very creative joke. I can think better things to throw at your friends. Flour just gets in your hair.
So, no matter where you happen to be in the world on April 1, don’t be surprised if April fools fall playfully upon you.
(Editor’s Note: Steve Nibbelink, our ad designer, is also the leader of One Way Express, a local puppet troupe from Holland, Iowa. His alter-ego, Goober the Puppet, has entertained folks in the tri-county area since 2005).
Today Pastor talked about Peter’s reinstatement as written about in John chapter 21. His sermon title was “Preparing Peter for Penetecost.” Goober, Ricky and Mickey figured that Pastor Gary was pulling a Seasame Street. So Goober and the boys pulled out most of their toys and began handing them to Pastor Gary.
Pastor Gary did not understand as Goober handed up his piano, a Patton Tank, a pair of pants, pumpkins, pizza boxes, a picture book, a PC, a present, a Plymouth, a pipe, and his pet Peter Rabbit. When asked by Pastor Gary, Goober looked at the congregation and said “Pastor’s Sermon is brought to you today by the letter ‘P’”.
Pastor and Goober then add-libbed a five minute alliteration that I wish we had taped.
Pastor Gary managed to get the high points of outlined using mainly ‘P’ words. Goober managed to ask intelligent again using mainly ‘P’ words. Ricky and Mickey kept interjecting random ‘P’ words. Ricky kept handing up props and calling the by some ’P' equivalent.
Goober, Ricky, and Mickey formed the “S-Files” branch of the FBI for the investigation of Strange occurences. They brought along Goober’s PI kit and his laptop and began their investigation.
During the course of the investigation, Ricky determined that it was not all that strange to walk through walls as anyone could do it if they used a door. Goober declared the case solved and began packing up.
Pastor Gary then reminded the boys that Jesus entered the room through the locked door. Goober declared that the case was then not solved and ordered Ricky and Mickey to go fingerprint the door. Happy to be doing something the brothers scampered off. Goober wondered about climbing in through a window. After explaining to Goober that it was not a window that Jesus was not bound by the physical laws in his glorified body, Goober wondered how a good man like Jesus would go around breaking laws. Pastor Gary then told Goober it might be a good idea to listen to the sermon.
Goober and the rest of the One Way Express team journeyed to Steamboat Rock, Iowa for the pre-Easter Egg Hunt puppet show. First Goober went to where Mapquest said the address was located. After we ended up in a corn field, got a call from Pastor Gary leading us into the proper place and unloaded everything we were good to go.
Goober, Rickey, and Mickey hauled out their trusty map of Iowa looking for Rockboat Thingy, Iowa. After 5 minutes of looking over the map, Pastor Gary managed to convince the boys that they were already there.
Pastor Gary asked the three if they were ready for the upcoming holiday. All three indicated they were and went behind the stage to get ready. They came up wearing green hats and green bow ties and told everybody,”Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!” The kids in the audience ALL tried to correct the boys. Crestfallen, they took down their St. Patty’s decorations and came up with hearts and told everyone, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Again corrections from the audience. “Election Day?”, NO! “Labor Day?” NO!!!!!!!!!!!! The boys got out their Nativity set and said “Christmas!” No, it’s Easter the kids yelled.
Easter, I know Goober replied that’s the Day Peter Cottontail came out of the tomb and gave eggs and presents to all of Jesus’ disciples. Choruses of “NO!” from the audience while Pastor Gary shook his head and placed his hand on his forehead.
Pastor Gary then got a chance to share the “correct” version of the Easter story with the kids. Goober, Ricky and Mickey launched into their own rendition of a classic Easter hymn.
Lo in the Grave Him lay, Jesus my Savior, Buying stuff on E-bay, Jesus my Lord
Up from the grave Him a Lilly, An’ I know it sounds pretty silly, Him’s the Lilly of the Valley, Jesus is His name, And He’ll live forever, With His saints in the rain, Him a Lilly, Him a Lilly, Hallelujah Christ a Lilly.
Pastor Gary and Goober then proceeded to have an argument about whether Jesus arose or whether Jesus a lilly. The kids in the audience sided with Goober.
Emboldened by the kids agreeing with them the boys went into one of their skits: Master Puppet Theater Presents….
Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been?
Goober started the recitation, no cat. Mickey was unable to buy a cat, due to the fact that e-bay was no longer accepting Pastor Gary’s credit card. Goober asked for something cute and furry. Mickey said OK and rustled behind the stage. He gave Goober the go head because he’d found something furry and cute. Take 2
Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat where have you been? Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Mickey had found our naughty sheep. Goober got upset and told Mickey he needed a member of the cat family. Mickey said OK. Take 3
Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat where have you been Ro-oaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar! Mickey had found a lion. The lion was not happy he had been awakened and he began to chase Goober.
Goober was upset this was NOT what Master Puppet theater was supposed to do. He asked the kids for another chance. Master Puppet Theater presents Little Bo Peep
Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep…. nothing…. (Louder) Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep… Mickey pops up. Where’s Bo Peep? Goober asks. She couldn’t make it today, Mickey replies, I’m gonna be Bo Pete. Goober shakes his head and mutters at least it rhymes with sheep.
Little Bo Pete has lost his shee… BAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!! The lamb came in early on his cue. A five minute chase wild lamb chase ensued. Mickey was finally victorious.
One of the ‘tweens in the audience was heard to remark, “This is funnier than Saturday morning cartoons.”
Always leave ‘em wanting more.
I have been asked a few questions about other aspects of my blog. For example who is Goober? Why Vulcan Stev? I was writing a reply to these questions and getting ready to tag it as non-rpg blog post when I realized that answers to both of these questions involve RP after a manner of speaking. It was after this realization that I came to the conclusion that Role Playing is where my various hobbies meet. The skills I use in my puppeteering and creative writing serve me as player and GM as well and vice-versa. Thus the rewrite of a simple behind-the-scenes Q&A into a full blown article about RPG skills.
Goober is the lead character for my puppet team. He is at his core, a Dennis the Menace/Calvin type character. We don’t use scripts when Goober is on stage as dealing with Goober is a form of free associating role play. Most of the “skits” involving Goober are based on a one-line riff, with Goober and his straightman verbally sparring with each other building on the last line spoken. How is puppeteering role playing? I cannot “do” Goober unless I am physically talking in his voice. Once I’m doing the voice, Goober comes naturally.
Stev is a character that I write for the Starships of the Third Fleet writing club. The “Captain” writes a prologue and it is then up to the members to write their mission report. I’ve been writing Stev off and on for the better part of two decades. I’ll stare at the prologue and be unable to write unless I’m “in” Stev’s mind so-to-speak.
How do these two completely different pursuits tie-in to becoming a better player and/or GM? In both instances I am not the one providing the starting spot. With Goober, I’m usually riffing off of the Pastor’s sermon that morning, or along whatever “theme” we have for that night’s puppet show. In Stev’s case, the Captain provides the problem and I have to come up with the solution. Step outside the box for the moment. What difference other than tropes and semantics, is there between Goober talking about Pastor Gary’s sermon, my writing Stev’s solution, or trying to figure Nevets’ way out of the trap that the DM just described? Really? there is no difference. It’s all Improv, different disciplines to be sure. But in each I need to be quick on my feet.
Now flip the whole thing on it’s head. When Sergeant Steelflex of SG-21 suddenly wants to question the conductor of the train the team is riding, I need to be able to step into character quickly even if the character wasn’t supposed to do anything beyond collecting the tickets. I need to quickly find the Conductor’s voice and let my improv skills come to the surface. I have discovered over the years that I have a very strong talent in building off of another’s foundation. Every time I exercise my improvisational skills it only improves that talent for use. The three hobbies build on each other.
My advice for honing your RPG skills is to find something else that stretches your creative thinking. Creativity is creativity whether its puppets, RPG, writing, drawing, whatever causes you stretch your thinking. Stretch and excercies your thinking and your RPG skills will improve as well.
Pastor continued his sermon series on the miracles of Jesus. This week Pastor Gary choose the healing of the ten lepers as told in Luke 17:11-19. Goober free-associated this to coincide with the upcoming holiday.
Goober assumed that March 17th was the day that Jesus healed the ten leper-cons. He, Ricky, and Mickey started off by throwing out Leper-con Day candy. The popped up wearing green derbys, green bow-ties, and speaking in the worst Leper-con accents heard this side of the Atlantic.
Pastor Gary tried his best to reign in the antics, but every time he mentioned that leperosy was a disease, Goober agreed with him. “Yes, Pastor Gary, Leper-see is when clovers grow out of your head. Saint Patrick cured all the Leper-cons in Ireland in honor of Jesus’ healing of the ten Leper-cons.
After much explaining Pastor was able to convince Goober that the lepers Jesus healed had nothing to do with St. Patrick, Ireland or March 17th.
Sunday morning 3-1-09, Pastor’s sermon was about Jesus being the Bread of Life. His scripture was Mark 8:1-21, the story was about Jesus feeding the 4,000.
Goober of course thought that Pastor Gary had invited 4,000 people to lunch after church. Goober ordered 5 pizzas to start with. He and Ricky argued with Pastor that there wasn’t room inside the church for 4,000 people. Ricky brought up that the parking lot was too small for that many cars. Goober suggested letting folks park their cars in the cornfield as there wasn’t any corn yet.
After Pastor Gary managed to convince Goober and Ricky that he had not in fact invited 4,000 people for lunch that the sermon was about Jesus feeding 4,000 people, the boys could not understand how Jesus managed to feed that many people. Ricky wondered who delivered that much food. Much discussion ensued over who Jesus could have called to get that much food.
After Pastor Gary explained that Jesus preformed a miracle and fed 4,000 men not including the women and children using seven loaves and few small fish, Goober was awestruck. “That’d be like Jesus having one pizza, offering everyone a slice and feeding everyone in Grundy Center,: Goober replied. Pastor told Goober that was about right. Goober got the brilliant idea of letting Jesus provide the pizza for a new restaurant.
Pastor told Goober that Jesus would not honor a prayer request like that. Pastor Gary also told Goober that he and Ricky were welcome to the pizza since lunch was tuna-spinach casserole.
Pastor’s sermon Was about the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida, Mark 8:22-26. Pastor made special mention of the fact that in Hebrew Bethsaida means “House of Bread”. Goober and Ricky assumed that Pastor was going to be opening a grocery store that catered to blind people.
Goober got milk, cereal, and bread. Ricky got blindfolded and his brother Micky got to play guide. Goober tried to convince Pastor Gary that Jesus wanted us to open grocery stores for the blind.
After Pastor Gary explained the nature of the miracle, Jesus spitting in the dirt and smearing mud on the blind man’s eyes, Goober got excited. Was Jesus advocating playing in the mud? Did Grandma lie when she advocated cleanliness was next to Godliness?
Pastor assured Goober that it was still important to bathe. Goober agreed to go listen to the sermon.
This morning’s sermoncontinued Pastor’s series on Jesus’ “Bag of Tricks” The miracle of raising Lazurus from the dead in John 11. Pastor entitled his sermon “Dead Man Walking”, referencing the 1996 movie by the same title. Goober, being five had never heard of that movie. The first thing he thought of was of course zombies.
The first thing Goober, Ricky, and Micky did was scatter red wrapping paper all over the place. Visually exciting to be sure, but very confusing to Pastor Gary. After explaining to Pastor Gary that they were setting a zombie trap, Goober and Ricky did their best zombie impersonations to help Pastor Gary.
Micky then thought that Goober and Ricky had in fact become zombies and got out his trusty butterfly net to capture the zombies. Pastor Gary had a difficult time explaining to Goober that Lazurus was not a zombie. Goober had come prepared with a first aid kit to heal wounds caused by zombie bites, nets to capture zombies, and the aforementioned crinkly blood-red wrapping paper. The wrapping paper was to both attract the zombies and warn everyone by making noise when the zombies walked all over it.
After much discussion about the habits of zombies, Pastor Gary was able to convince Goober and Ricky that Lazurus was not a zombie.
This morning, Pastor Gary guest filled a pulpit in Newton, IA. Pastor Ken filled in for him and asked Goober to steer him back on course if he strayed to far from the order of service. Goober only had to bring him back to the published order once.
Pastor Ken’s sermon was from John 2:1-11, the miracle of turning the water into wine. Goober and Ricky had to, as always, help with the sermon illustration. Goober figured he could help by turning water into wine on his own. Mickey on the other hand spent the entire time “whining” over the water.
Goober and Ricky got out their trusty garden hose, a pitcher and food coloring. Their plan was to put water in the pitcher and dump purple food coloring into the this making “wine”. Pastor Ken managed to convince them that was not how Jesus did it. Mickey continued to “whine”.
Goober decided in the end that if Jesus was going to use miracles to make something to drink, that he’d prefer Cherry Coke over wine. Ricky and Goober got into fight over which would be better, Cherry Coke or Mr. Pibb.