Today, April 1, is the day that pranks, jokes and buffoonery will take place.
In grade school it was “Your shoe is untied.” And when we would look down to see the youthful prankster would exclaim “April Fool!”
Not all that funny but it was grade school.
Some historians believe April Fools began in the Middle Ages as a part of a European religious celebration “The Feast of the Annunciation”. Conservative Christians will probably dispute anything foolish tied in with their religion but they like to re-write history and the Scriptures to their liking anyway.
For instance, the purported Fundamentalists believe that Jesus didn’t really turn the water into wine at the wedding feast but turned it into juice. Which, I suppose, is why so many church use Welch’s for communion. Now, kids, for a real April Fool prank, switch the grape juice for Mad Dog 20/20. The little ol’ ladies of the church will thank you for it.
As far back as the 1500’s several nationalities observed some form of a day of tricks. In 1539 a Flemish poet wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1. That was probably like the time I was in Boy Scouts and our Scoutmaster sent us out to find a left handed monkey wrench. At least it kept us out of mischief for a while even if we were met with odd looks as we asked parents, plumbers and the hardware store owner for the bogus hand tool.
On April 1, in England several people are annually tricked into going to the Tower of London to see the annual washing of the lions. They have a very long wait and no doubt feel foolish when no one showed up to bathe the stone sculptures.
A more recent office prank is to make some copies of “April Fool” then replace the already printed message in the copier cassette. When the school principal, supervisor, attorney, or other boss who has the authority to fire you would make a copy, the previous “April Fool” message appears on their important document that a customer or client is waiting for. They would double up laughing at the prank…or at least they should have except that the prankster used the last of the copier paper.
I began this column lampooning some folks’ religious beliefs. So perhaps I should attempt to make amends.
A Baptist preacher, a rabbi and an atheist were engaged in conversation when the atheist challenges the religious leaders. “It’s not fair. You Christians have a Christmas holiday, you Jews have Hannakah. We atheists don’t have any national holiday.”
“Ah, but you do,” said the rabbi. “It’s celebrated April 1.”