April 1. April Fools Day. Just 15 days to go before tax time.
Every April 1, I remember back to 1996 when Taco Bell announced it had purchased the Liberty Bell from the National Park Service and the historical artiface would be renamed the “Taco Liberty Bell.”
Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Park Service to complain. Members of Congress went to the floor of that hallowed chamber to denounce the action. At the morning White House press briefing, reporters grilled Presidential Press Secretary Mike McCurry. McCurry wasn’t in on the Taco Bell joke but figured it out and told the press corps “I have discussed this with the President and he thinks it is a good idea to help reduce the deficit. In fact, we are planning to offer the Lincoln Memorial to Ford Motor Company and they may renamed it the Ford-Lincoln Memorial.”
Taco Bell took out full-page ads in several newspapers to announce the purchase and sent out press kids to major news organizations. Wire services carried the store. At 3 p.m., the company sent out a press advisory. All it said was: “April Fool.”
P.T. Barnum was right.