A 22-year-old announced on Twitter on Sunday “with sadness” that her long-running “gag was up.” After nearly four years, her dad finally noticed she had pinned a single Cheez-It on the wall of her dining room four years ago.
“My brother-in-law accidentally spoiled it two nights ago,” Sara Smith told BuzzFeed News. “The whole internet seems to be really mad at him, but when I first found out I was actually just really sad that it’s the end of an era.”
The era/gag began in late November 2015. Smith said she was inspired by a viral Twitter joke someone played on their family with a Dorito.
Smith, who now lives in San Antonio but was living with her family in Bristol, Vermont, at the time, said she only cared about testing how observant or oblivious her dad was.
“So I told everyone else [about the Cheez-It], but they were taking a while to notice too,” she said.
“It took a lot of secrecy to keep this alive,” she added.
Then, on Sunday night, the Cheez-It disappeared. BuzzFeed News could not independently confirm whether it was intentionally removed or it had naturally decomposed.
Once family members noticed the snack was gone, Smith’s brother-in-law said to Smith’s dad, Steve, “Oh, you found the cracker,” accidentally giving away the longstanding joke.
Smith said her dad responded, “What?” When he learned it was an internet joke she carried out against him for years, he said, “Really?”
“I think it was probably weird to process though,” Smith said.
As all fun, and kind of dumb, internet jokes go in 2019, Smith’s recent announcement, which went viral, was met with some light laughter and mourning. She then was of course hit with accusatory messages and harassment.
Smith said people have been accusing her of faking the initial joke and tweets because the Cheez-It should have decayed, or someone should have noticed sooner.
Some have even gone as far as calling her “self-involved” for carrying out the innocent joke in the first place.
“I’d just like to stress that it was in Vermont, where it’s actually too cold for bugs most of the year,” she said.
Secondly, she added, “Everyone we know — all of our relatives and coworkers — knew about this. And it was a big thing to keep it under wraps the whole time.”
“I’d like to point out that this was just a practical joke … our family is full of love and this was just for laughs,” she then said.
Fortunately, many were still able to enjoy something on the open internet. Smith said her dad still does not quite understand the joke of it all.
Sara Smith currently lives in San Antonio. A previous version of this post misstated the city where she lives.