Horace de Vere Cole: Turn-of-the-Century Prankster and Poop-Joke Virtuoso

Horace de Vere Cole: Turn-of-the-Century Prankster and Poop-Joke Virtuoso

By KiddoWednesday - December 12th, 2012Categories: Uncategorized

Here at CatRoommate, we ourselves are a band of boisterous scallywags, somewhat lacking in scruples. Ergo, we are in a state of awe when we come across a fellow master of mischief. And when the term “hornswoggler” comes to my mind (as it oft does) one man stands alone as by the far the greatest hornswoggler in recorded swoggledom. Who, pretell? Why my good man, Horace de Vere Cole, that is!

Horace de Vere Cole: The man liked the poop jokes.

Probably best described by his Wikipedia page, Horace de Vere Cole was a “British eccentric prankster and poet”. Note: His reputation as eccentric prankster far outweighs his legacy as a poet. This may be attributed to the fact that I’m  not entirely sure he actually wrote any poetry. I haven’t read a single line he’s written, nor have I come across any in the “research” I’ve “done.” And boy, I’ve “done” the “research” (read: skimmed his Wikipedia).

Though we may not find any of his fart haikus in the Norton Anthology, Cole’s lasting legacy lies in the extravagant pranks and jokery he orchestrated and executed. Needless to say, the man was a genius and clearly ahead of his time, pulling sweet pranks with his Bloomsbury Group cronies and hotdoggin’ The Man. Here are some of his best:

The Dreadnought Hoax

In 1910, Cole, his buddy Virginia Woolf and four other friends hoodwinked the shit out of the British Navy, posing as Abyssinian royals. His companions darkened their skin and  dressed in robes and turbans while Cole played the role of “Herbert Cholmondeley,” ambassador from the UK Foreign Office. The gang was unrecognizable, even to those they knew, and got the seamen to accept fake military honors, courtesy of Abyssinia. After the events were revealed to be a massive ruse, word got around London that Cole and his crew had boarded a naval ship in disguise and communicated in a made-up jibberish-speak to the officers, all the while performing elaborately fake customs. As expected, the navy was très pissesd. So how did Cole respond? He fanned the flames of course, and sent a photo of the scheme to the press.

The Gold Pocket Watch

No one was immune to the brilliant idiocy that was Cole, including his friends. Once while out on a busy street corner, Cole challenged an acquaintance of his (who was also an MP) to a race, even offering him a head start. The twist? Cole had slipped his own gold pocket watch into the man’s pocket. The MP began to run, prompting to Cole to shout “Stop! Thief!” at which point a policeman arrive on the scene to arrest the puzzled politician. Cole explained that it was all a joke and the two men were told to be on their way. This didn’t happen. No doubt for his own amusement, Cole decided to start waving a stick in the air like he was conducting an imaginary band and was subsequently arrested. Clearly this man was the Tim and Eric of his generation.

Horse Poop Hoax

In 1919 Cole decided to take a wife. Whether she was tricked into the marriage is unknown, so we’ll have to assume he somehow got her to agree. Following their nuptials, the two traveled on honeymoon to Venice. As we all well know, much of Venice can only be reached by boat. The area Cole and his wife were vacationing in was no exception. In another display of expert prankdom, Cole gathered together a bunch of horse poop and dropped it in the city square, the joke being that this isolated city had no horses. Perhaps even funnier than the prank itself is the idea that this man was spending his honeymoon gathering horse manure so he could hide behind a curtain and chuckle when the mayor stepped in it.

There you have it; Horace de Vere Cole, a king among men and an asshole among kings. We thank you for your service, Mr. Cole.


Source(s): Wiki and various pops about Cole around the web.