Don’t pity this fool on April Fool’s Day
Growing up, I always hated April 1.A young girl named April can be called a fool only so many times by classmates on April 1 before she either starts to believe it or develops one heck of a sense of humor. Luckily for my self-esteem, I opted for the latter.Throughout elementary and middle school, I woke up on April 1 wanting to call in sick. I knew the first boy I would encounter that morning on the bus would start in with “April is a fool.” On April Fool’s Day, being the only April in my grade was a special treat, much like being the only girl at the slumber party without a training bra to freeze.Don’t get me wrong, I like jokes. Granted, I can’t tell one to save my life, except maybe if it starts out “A horse walks into a bar … ” Like a college kid who shows up a day late for a final exam, my timing is a little off to enjoy the kookiest day of the year.I’ve always wondered when all the hijinks began and why I had to be the one so traumatized on April 1. What is the origin of April Fool’s Day? Why does it happen? Why couldn’t it be called August Fool’s Day?Maybe a joke in itself, there’s a Web site at http://www.april-fools.us called April Fools R Us. The site includes pranks, gags, T-shirts, stories and history. According to the site, April Fool’s Day or All Fools’ Day might have started in France in 1582. Apparently Charles IX introduced the Gregorian calendar that moved New Year’s Day from April 1 to Jan. 1.Lacking e-mail, the postal service or even the Pony Express, people didn’t know the change went down, sometimes for years. And even after they found out, some rule-benders continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1. That’s when it got ugly and my favorite word forever entered the picture.Do-gooders called the celebratory rebels “fools” and played mean pranks like inviting them to pseudo-parties and pinning paper fish on their backs, which is better than a walking around school with a “Kick Me” sign. Or is it?If April Fools R Us is historically accurate, the ol’ paper-fish-on-the-back gag is a far cry from the electric -shock staplers, stink bombs and whoopee cushions that serve as present-day April Fool’s pranks.I would much rather show up for a fake party than be the naive hunter of the elusive jackalope or snipe. I would also prefer my dad’s favorite trick of jumping out from behind a door to scare the daylights out of me to being publicly ridiculed by some uptight French guy who heard the news about the schedule change before me.Of course I could go without being called a fool on April 1 too. Seriously.April E. Clark and her best friend from grade school, Misty, found weeklong entertainment in a $1.99 whoopee cushion they bought at a truck stop during a road trip from Indiana to Georgia. She has been known to leave plastic dog poo on the toilet seat to make a dull party come to life. She can be reached at email@example.com
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or firstname.lastname@example.org