Came in 1988. I was 9, obsessed with the first sports team I ever loved, the all but unbeatable Arizona Wildcats basketball squad, let by future NBA players Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr, Tom Tolbert and Anthony Cook. The juggernaut had stormed off to a 35-2 record, the No. 1 ranking and the school's first berth in the Final Four.
April Fool's Day fell just before the national semifinal in Kansas City against Oklahoma, and my dad woke me up that day with somber news:
"Kerr and Elliott got arrested for drunk driving, Phil," he said. "They're gonna miss the game."
It was all I could do to keep from falling to my knees and bawling. The tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn't even muster a retort. I sat on the edge of my bed as he left the room and stared into nothingness, consumed in the void. The world went from color to black and white. Flowers shriveled up and died. My blood stopped flowing.
After half an hour my dad returned and sprung me back to life by shouting "April Fools!" Color was restored. Tulips blossomed. My blood started flowing once again.
And then the next day Arizona lost to Oklahoma and I was sad, but not nearly as devastated as I was when my dad had punk'd me.
The moral of this story: the best April Fools gags degrade victims into unfathomable despair, like an awful, inescapable nightmare, before releasing them unexpectedly into the bliss of normalcy. Any setbacks they'll face next will seem insignificant in comparison.