The Cashew Prank

Devon was known for his pranks. In tenth grade, he managed to convince the entire graduating class that he was the valedictorian that year, and he delivered a stirring speech on checking your facts. He did the same in eleventh grade, somehow slipping it past the administration who, after the previous year’s debacle, was on the lookout for his shenanigans. In twelfth grade, he allowed another student to win the valedictorian: this student was Devon’s alter ego, whom he had enrolled in school, and completed every class for, just for this event.

In university, Devon caused havoc by convincing the student population that the deans had issued a memo to lower all grades by half a letter: A+ would become A-, C became D+, and the like. The resulting protests meant a year of surprisingly high marks, and it took the university two further years to recover, during which time Devon was able to start, and teach, a class on comparative anthropomorphism, and move in to the president’s house.

Adult life, while rife with potential, was also fraught with difficulty. Finding a way to convince others to pay attention to the pranks and hoaxes was a challenge, but Devon was never one to back down.

He began the anti-cashew movement by attending a small, but growing, fundamentalist church. Despite his atheism, he attended every Sunday, and talked with the parishioners. He made friends, shook hands, smiled, and then started talking about cashews.

Cashews, he argued, were bad for people. Look at how many were allergic to nuts in general, Devon said. It was a sign from God.

The people agreed.

Cashews are shaped like the number six, he said, showing one to demonstrate. And you know what the devil’s number is, he told them, and everyone nodded. Three is the holy number, but three cashews? Satan on earth.

And speaking of the shape, he said, look at them. And look at a fetus. Eating a cashew is promoting abortion.

By the time Devon had disseminated his websites on the healthful and mythological dangers of cashews, the church had grown to some five thousand strong. It took very little prompting to organize the protests and “education” campaigns on the streets, and soon the whole town was arguing about cashews.

Devon grinned, left the church, and started planning his next prank.


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