As I am writing this on April Fools’ Day I decided I’d do a little research on the subject and enlighten you about some April Fools’ Day history and such but when I clicked on the first website that came up what do you suppose happened? Yup, you’re right…nothing. It didn’t open at all. Coincidence? I think not. I guess the joke was on me.
Right off the bat I’m going to remind you, Dear Reader, that I am not a practical joke lover at all. My experience has been that practical jokes are seldom practical and most of the results are only funny because you can get a quick laugh at the embarrassing expense of an unsuspecting victim. In my humble opinion, I think laughing at someone else’s discomfort is cheap humour but I will give in to the one day of the year that you are allowed a “legal” prank but for the most part I’m anti-practical joke.
My therapist thinks that my anti-practical joke stance could be rooted in the fact that my Dad was such a bugger, or teaser, you know, with him every day was April Fools’ Day, and I resented his form of attention when he was chasing his children with dead mice, or a hair-ball rolled up to look like a huge spider, or the fresh fish “catch of the day” with its smelly snout “this close” to your own nose; either that or it’s just simply because I’m such a dupe! An easy mark, as they say. I’m still so naïve and trusting, even after all these years, that it’s hardly a challenge to get me on a good one so then I’m doubly duped. Do I hate practical jokes because they’re foolish or because I’m such a fool? Only my therapist knows for sure.
And then, wouldn’t you know it, just when I’m in the middle of writing this thing my youngest daughter, Emily, phones me to “shoot the breeze” and subtly slides in some details about how she got a twenty-four hour driving suspension at a road-side check point in Moose Jaw last night, when she knew she had been drinking and she’s had some previous history with this kind of thing and I’m just freaking out and questioning her intelligence and searching for some blood pressure medication and everything and then she and her friends were laughing and laughing into the phone and I’m all, “why I oughta”…DAMN! She got me again! When will I ever learn? I was even in the middle of writing about April Fools’ when I got April Fooled! Tsk, tsk, tsk. You don’t have to get up very early, or even out of bed, to fool me. Nope.
I guess the apple doesn’t fall from the ancestral tree, as it were, as she’s a pretty good li’l bugger herself, like her Grandpa, but she’s also a very good story teller to get her tall “I got busted in Moose Jaw” tale out all the way to the end without the slightest crack in the details. It’s not easy being angry, embarrassed and proud all at the same time, but I was.
Precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria which the Romans celebrated around the end of March and similar festivals can be found in ancient Greek history and the earliest recorded association in the United Kingdom with April 1st and April Fools’ Day can be found in Chaucer’s Caterbury Tales in 1392. Iranians play jokes on each other on the 13th day of the Persian New Year, Norouz, which falls on April 1 or April 2. This day, celebrated as far back as 536 BC, is called Sizday Bedar and is the oldest prank-tradition in the world still alive today.
Regardless of the ancient history and the general public’s love of a good joke I’m still not moving on my stance. I just don’t like it and I’m going to vow to be ready next year and I am not going to be fooled like I have been for the last fifty-some April Fools’ Days. I hope.
“April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four. “-Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894.