Sunday, April 01, 2007

I Was Had

One of these photographs is an April Fools joke. Ernie had the sports page open at breakfast time and I caught sight of this disgusting looking . . . thing. Even more disturbing was the accompanying recipe for “sucker patties or burgers.” The ingredients were quite standard—flour, onion, egg, olive oil and breadcrumbs—until you got to the bit about adding a pound of sucker fillets put through a meat grinder. “That”, I informed Ernie, “is an April Fools joke.” Indeed, on the same page Eric Sharp had also written about a $2.3 billion underwater fence to be built from Duluth, Minn to the head of the St. Lawrence to keep out new fish diseases.

I went to check my e-mail, which included a note from my brother asking me if I wanted some of the new jam being made by our friends at Tiptree. (For those of you not familiar with Pimms, it is an alcoholic base in which fruit is macerated and the whole business is added to lemonade. Ideally it drunk while standing around on an English lawn, wearing a floppy hat and thinking wistfully of Hugh Grant.) Brian explained his theory that it was a marketing ploy to get back at the folks at Marmite. He’d written to me a couple of weeks ago about a limited edition of Marmite (if you’ve been paying attention you know about my inexplicable passion for this yeasty goodness.) The new version was made with the leftover yeast from the production of Guinness. Such was the frenzy to buy this product that it was snatched off supermarket shelves as soon as they were restocked and it was selling for £50 a six-pack on Ebay. Of course I wanted some Pimm’s jam, I told Brian.

Several hours later, I checked my e-mail again, only to discover my brother’s “got you” note. And fully aware of my piscatorial ignorance, I had asked my friend Caroll to check with her husband about suckers. Roger is the outdoorsman par excellence and he passed on the information that suckers are something of a delicacy.

I am beginning to doubt my sense of reality. The BBC website had an article about hoaxes, citing the spaghetti caper I mentioned earlier. The article mentions the Museum of Hoaxes in San Diego. Maybe that’s a hoax too.

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