“Gone are the days when all you want to see are sprawling countryside vistas.”

More like gone are the days when you can trick anybody with an April Fool’s Day story featuring a caricature of an arrogant condo tycoon.

Last Tuesday, the Merritt Herald published a phoney story that a Vancouver developer was planning to build a 12-storey highrise in downtown Merritt. The bogus story featured the bogus quote that leads this column.

In dreaming up this April Fool’s Day story, I had to think of one where there wouldn’t be any collateral damage. It had to quote fake sources who, for obvious reasons, couldn’t be from real companies. I also didn’t want to report something that would be awesome if it were real and then shatter people’s hopes with the final paragraph outing the story as a joke.

So, enter Stu Sherman, a completely out-of-touch jerk, and his plans for a gaudy highrise in the middle of a quaint country city. Here’s a little bit of his background.

Sherman is the former owner and operator of a horse and buggy taxi company, which although he admitted was a “generally inconvenient way to travel,” he still peddled as a viable, everyday taxi service. He went so far as to pitch horse and buggy lanes to the provincial government, although even he had to admit that their support seemed unlikely.

Sherman made his first fortune selling counterfeit art, which he sunk entirely into a terribly-written self-help book detailing his many get-rich-quick schemes and an accompanying speaking circuit, which was really an excuse to jet around the world in luxury. The book sales were abysmal and the speaker series was a complete loss.

Though he lost his fortune, Sherman didn’t lose his taste for luxury. On his last dime, it was a matter of being at the right place at the right time for Sherman. That place was a gaudy casino in Las Vegas, which would introduce him to a high-flyin’ poker player-turned-business partner, and would serve as the inspiration for his newfound condominium development plans.

Of course, there are so many red flags in the story that you probably didn’t need to read to the end to decide it was an April Fool’s Day joke. (Better yet, if it took you to the end to realize, nobody needs to know.)

Before the advent of Google at our fingertips, people weren’t always too savvy for such pranks.

In the 1950s, the BBC reported on a family spaghetti tree farm in Switzerland, and was inundated with calls and requests for spaghetti gardening tips.

In 1977, the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. ran a seven-page travel spread celebrating the island nation of San Serriffe, which any self-respecting design nerd would have a nice chuckle at. (For those who aren’t, it’s a typeface reference.)

On April 1, 1981, the Merritt Herald ran a story about hot springs discovered at the bottom of Nicola Lake, and a California developer’s plans to build a million-dollar resort there.

The hijinks continued into this century, getting more and more sneaky and closer to that edge between believable and ridiculous.

In 2008, the CBC Radio show “As It Happens” reported the $5 bill would be replaced by a $3 coin called the “threenie.” The show, which typically features one-on-one, in-depth interviews with newsmakers of the day, sure heard about the “threenie” from listeners.

In 2012, WestJet poked fun at its own customers and introduced Kargo Kids, a program that seats children in a special VIP area of the plane to leave the cabin in peace and quiet in their absence.

Just before this April Fool’s Day, Lululemon got in on Jimmy Kimmel’s joke at the exercise apparel company’s expense. On his late-night show, Kimmel showed a spoof commercial for a can of spray-on yoga pants.

The company featured its own real-looking ad on its website and listed the product as sold out. Each can costs $1,200 and contains 1,200 pairs of pants, the fit of which is described as “next to naked.”

I hope everyone found a laugh on April Fool’s Day.