Denver Bar Association
April 2001
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The Joke’s on You

by Diane Hartman

Perhaps April Fool’s jokes have gone the way of girdles (which is a bad example because horror of horrors, they’re back). We couldn’t find many people who participate in The Docket’s favorite holiday.

Maybe it’s because American consumerism isn’t backing it in a big way. No candy, no cards, no trees or bushes, no songs, no big dinners with special food and no overwhelming guilt if you don’t get it right. There are no exchanges to be made, no lines to stand in, no wrapping paper and no church services.


We have an annual tradition at the DBA offices. Someone (who later gets his/her office trashed) goes around after work on March 31 to everyone’s desk and unplugs the earpiece and cord of the phone from the phone’s body. The next morning, when the person walks in and gets the first phone call of the day, they say "Hello? Hello?" to the phone and realize they’re not connected. They just hate it.

But this is so minor and trivial compared to tricks by someone who is connected with the judicial branch and who will remain anonymous for his own protection. The person, who seems so normal and mild in manner, goes to inordinate lengths to annoy and frustrate his peers and treats April 1 like a high holy day.

He began early in his career as an aspiring young associate at a large Denver firm. One day, he was standing at the men’s urinal when he noticed a two-foot by two-foot metal plate about 12 inches in front of his face. Curious, he opened it to find it provided access to all the plumbing in the men’s room. It was only October, so he counted the days until he could use the new information. On April 1, he went into the men’s room, through the plumbing door, and waited. His first potential victim was a senior partner. He prudently let him pass.

"The next man was a young buck who was always telling us he intended to be governor of Colorado . . . so, waiting several seconds for what I believed to be the most propitious moment, I thrust my daughter’s rabbit hand puppet out of the partially opened door and said "Eh, What’s up doc??" I was able to repeat the feat a couple of times, but it wasn’t long before the growing number of associates and partners assembling outside the men’s room was a dead giveaway to unsuspecting victims."

Somehow, he graduated to the judicial system.

The night of March 31, he and an accomplice used a Black and Decker Wet/Dry Vac to suck all the water out of many of the judge’s private restrooms. They shut off the water supply to the wash basins and left a memo for their victims on letterhead from the Director of Public Office Buildings. They explained that during the weekend they had been running a test on the newly installed air conditioning system and several pipes burst, disrupting service to the building. The memo went on to say that service had been restored to the public bathrooms but it was anticipated that service would not be available for private bathrooms until that afternoon.

About noon, another memo went around. Complications had developed, it said, and necessary parts wouldn’t be available until Friday. The memo mentioned two options. It was still early in the spring, they said, and the Parks and Recreation Department has plenty of Port-a-Potties that could be delivered to the judge’s chambers. There was even a choice of green or blue, with gender specific bathrooms to eliminate those arguments over up/down seats.

The other option was to circle the first letter of each sentence in the first paragraph (which spelled April Fools), push down on the stool lever and open the cabinet blow the wash basin and turn the little knobs to restore service. "Most people took option number two."

The moral is that nobody is safe from diehard jokesters.

The Docket Committee still likes to remember when we announced "Last Issue of Docket on Paper." We told our readers that from now on, only CD-ROMs would be mailed out. Our phones were overloaded with complaints when that issue hit the streets. We’ve done other silly stories, but probably the one that generated the most fury was last year when we announced that all Colorado lawyers would have to take the bar exam every 10 years, in all specialties. It was one of Craig Eley’s best efforts and many people were fooled. We were surprised. After all it was Craig Eley! He made fun of our beloved John Moye! And who could believe that something that important would be announced on April 1 in The Docket?

As a committee, we invite you to take your noses out of those computer screens, unleash your creativity and play a prank of two. Get silly.

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