April Fool’s: ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ in Holiday Form


It’s by now mid-day on the 1st of April, which means someone in your office has already dyed the water cooler orange and your homepage has been changed not twice, but eight times to Bieberfever.com. APRIL FOOL’S, Y’ALL! It’s as much in our DNA to prank each other as it is to breathe and urinate, which makes today something of a nationally cathartic experience. We don’t have to hide that part of ourselves, relegating it to chat rooms where we pretend to be hot younger women or fake “dude, my mom’s dead” rejoinders. (Pranked!) We can live our lives OUT LOUD.

But no group gets more out of today than nerds. Or more specifically, nerds who also program web content. (Within the hierarchy of nerds it should be noted that while all nerds are computer experts, some are more expert than others.) Ten and twenty years ago, the guys who are today responsible for everything you do online were getting their heads dunked in toilets and watching their lunch money disappear. “I swear, Mom, the money literally disappeared. What else do you want me to say?” Their moms would give them wedgies before sending them off to karate class, which helped nothing, and again before bed. “You need to learn to HIT BACK, Sergei!” said Mrs. Brin as she pulled and twisted, a look of bizarre pleasure on her face.

Nerd moms everywhere count April 1st, then, as some sort of Bizarro Mother’s Day, because their sons have indeed learned to HIT BACK. In the last five years, the Internet’s big names have made April Fool’s “pranks” a moment to proclaim, in Javascript and CSS, “We are not afraid anymore!” Google search goofs. Systematic Rick Rolls. Fake movie trailers. Hardly mean-spirited or physically painful, but a nevertheless forceful reminder to all the letterman’s jackets and greasers out there (our nerds were all bullied in a fictional 1950s) JUST WHO RUNS THIS JOINT. It’s exactly the kind of digital-swirlie you’d expect from guys who graphed the water circulation models after getting dunked.

Today alone is just overflowing with nerd pranks:

YouTube has time-traveled 100 years to the dawn of the 20th century, where Keyboard Cat instead plays the flugelhorn.
– Not to be outdone in the time travel department (FACT: All nerds love time travel), Hulu spends the day as a mid-90s GeoCities web page with dynamic frames and ‘NewsRadio’ plugs.
– Usually the nerdiest of them all, Google has run out of ideas and is now mining even the psuedo-competition — MICROSOFT KINECT — for motion technology jokes. In the local parlance, “FAIL!”

Even non-nerds are trying to get in on the fun! Funny or Die has ceded complete editorial authority to pop sensation Rebecca Black, who’s remade the site in her image. And also Huffington Post, for whatever reason, even though it was definitely founded by people that watched nerds get beat up in high school but did nothing about it because they were learning about US Non-Interventionism in history class and thought it would make them look smarter to adopt the policy themselves, then tell everyone about it? (The nerds do not need your help now, thank you very much.)

In any case it is clearly a nerd world that the rest of us are just living in, and the sooner we adjust to our new suspender and pocket-protector uniforms doled out by pale, undernourished enforcers the more pleasant the takeover — which let’s face it, happened well before Chuck showed up on TV — will be. All those non-nerds among us can do is keep playing pranks in the spirit we know how (like telling ourselves the Bronx Zoo cobra has been found and caught) and getting our Vitamin D supplements the normal way, from the sun.

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2 Responses to “April Fool’s: ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ in Holiday Form”

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