April Fool’s Day
Getting pranked on the day of fools.
The 1st of April is celebrated in many countries as a day for foolish activities. In France, people who get tricked are called April Fish as others try to hang paper fish on their backs without their noticing. In Iran, the day for playing pranks is called Sizdah Bedar, perhaps the oldest such tradition in the world.* In the U.S., April Fool’s Day is not a national holiday, but countless Americans enjoy playing tricks on friends, classmates, co-workers, and family members this day.
Tricks are of two general types: practical jokes and hoaxes. A practical joke—also called prank or shenanigan—involves physically altering someone’s environment. Here are some examples:
- Taping down the button on the spray handle on the kitchen sink so that when another family member turns on the faucet, the water sprays out the spray nozzle directly at the person.
- Short-sheeting involves making up a person’s bed with the bottom half of the bedsheet folded back up to the top to look like the cover sheet, and a blanket is pulled over the half-sheet to hide it. When the sleeper attempts to get into bed, the legs can only go halfway under the covers before being stopped by the looped sheet.
- A friend of mine said her father used to place Saran Wrap on the family toilet. The clear wrap goes over the toilet bowl (and under the seat) so it seals off the toilet and makes a mess when it is used.
- My sister reminded me that when I was young, I replaced the sugar in the kitchen sugar bowl with salt. My dad got a big surprise after “sweetening” his morning coffee and taking a sip! He didn’t laugh when I shouted, “April Fool!”
photo sources: phase.com, fotolia.com
“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, American humorist
April Fool’s Prank in Denmark (photo: Lars Andersen)
Hoaxes, the second kind of trick, involve fooling people with misleading information.
Young women sometimes trick a friend into believing they are pregnant when they aren’t. Simpler tricks involve telling others that their shoelace is untied, their zipper is down, or they have something on their shirt. When they look down to check what’s wrong, the prankster shouts, “April Fool!”
Even internet giant Google enjoys hoaxes, as seen in this almost-believable video they produced announcing a new g-mail product.
Perhaps the best trick played on me was when my wife called me breathless from her car. “Alan,” she said, “I can’t believe it! I was driving past the casino and decided to stop in for just a minute.” I couldn’t tell over the phone if she was about to cry or burst from excitement. “I thought I would go in, bet $20, and then leave. Honey, I won $57,000!” Of course, I believed her. As I began talking about how we could spend the money, she blurted out, “April Fool!”
Of course, once you are tricked on April Fool’s Day, you become wary about trusting people for the rest of the day. “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” is the old Chinese proverb.
I hope all of your April Fool’s Day pranks are gentle and harmless. Just look carefully before you use the toilet or kitchen sink at your friend’s house!
photo sources: ratremove.com, airlase.com