San Francisco had something new yesterday — an April fool’s day hero. His name is Captain Herman Petersen of the lumber schooner Jennie Johnson, which is a translation of Yennle Yonson.
He was out on Fillmore and Haight streets last night. Just as he was about to tack across the street he saw a prostrate figure lying on the track. “Yumping yimminey, what a yag,” muttered Herman.
A Fillmore street car came careening madly down the hill. “Ahoy!” shouted Herman. “Back water. Port your helm. Man overboard!”
But the motorman had been against the game before. The car whirled on. Was Herman going to see a human being transformed into wienerwurst before his very eyes? No, shiver his timbers, blast his toplights — him to the rescue.
He caught the helpless victim by the shoe, and the car caught him amidships. When he revived in an adjacent corner grocery they showed him the scarecrow he had tried to save from disaster.
“I tank I go back to the Yennie Yonson,” said Herman. “Some one ban yoshing me.”
Among those who bit at the old hydrant gag was Mr. Jack Johnsing. He was asked by a small bunch of humanity to help lift a bundle of wood near the corner of Eighth and Market streets.
Jack lifted. He lifted again. Then he got down on his knees with a long pull and a strong pull, and the hydrant loosened, turning upon the chocolate colored gladiator a shower bath. While the fountain spurted “Mistah Johnsing” chased the kid. He is chasing him yet.
Nobody around the City Hall would take a red-hot stove, but Treasurer McDougald found out yesterday that some people who live under the shadow of the bronze lady on the dome would take almost anything else.
A coin sack filled with lead was laid on a counter. It looked as though someone who had been overcome by weariness had left it for the janitor to sweep out in the morning. There were lots of people willing to save the garbage carts the trouble of hauling the filthy stuff to the crematory.
The first to fasten his optics on the bag was an elderly gentleman of family. He slid the “coin” into his pocket and started down the hallway. “April fool!” shouted someone. The old fellow dropped the sack and ran.
“I can’t tell the names of the people who tried to get the sack,” said McDougald, “but I’ll tell you I was surprised.” There were nearly a hundred municipal employes whose eager “mitts” clutched the bag.
It was a bad day all around for the unwary. The Morgue got all sorts of orders to call for corpses that are hardly due for several years. Nob Hill residences were earnestly requested to call “Cowboy Mag” to the phone, only her saloon number being given.
Biscuits were stuffed with cotton batting, candies were peppered and the free lunches were unsafe. All sorts of innocent viands were doctored. The adage that a sucker is born every minute was proven all day. The purse on a string and the brick in a hat claimed their victims regularly.
Originally published on page 37 of the “San Francisco Call,” April 2, 1905.