Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Fools



April Fools is as old as the Middle ages. It even predates Chaucer who discussed it in one of his tales. The holiday is actually celebrated it all over the world.  The rituals are really strange in some countries, but the custom has hung on for hundreds of years.

Whatever happened to April Fools in the last decade? Has it gone the way of the dodo?  When I was a kid in the 50's I used to look forward to April Fools and I had long elaborate hoaxes planned for everyone I knew from teachers to customers in my father's store.  It was a break from the rational world where you had to be reasonable,  honest and good in order not to be thought of as a psychopath or just a regular, not an April Fool.  The best part is that people had to forgive you since it was a day of hoax. My theory is that the April Fool  should be flattered that you put a little levity in their lives.

I have had a few good April Fools under my belt--mostly played on my husband who has for forty years forgotten that April 1st follows March 31st which is my birthday.  One of my best was about twenty-five years ago. We had twin boys and a boy another year older. We started out with three boys under three and then it just progressed. Just when the boys reached their teenage years, the apex of horror,  I decided to tell my husband I was pregnant with another set of twins as an April fools caper. I had the radiologist next door to us send an ultra sound saying that I was five months pregnant with  another set of  identical twin boys.  When my husband opened the envelope, he fell on the floor and began screaming , "Help God Take my Kishkas, ( yiddish for guts). Take me! I can't go on."  He was purple and the baby sitter took pity on him and said it was 'just' April Fools.

I just did another one this weekend. Our children are all grown up and doing well and now we get to travel and read and go to our farm on the weekends and do adult things like have cocktails. My husband has a bad habit of donating to charities that he knows little about. I have tried to break him of the habit, but  part of his charm is his  unbridled generosity.  One of his donations was to the Big Brother's association.( honestly a great organization)  On April Fools I warned him that he had not only donated to the association but had inadvertintly  signed up to be a big brother. I said the mother of the boy called and he would be at our farm tomorrow morning and the first Saturday of the month forever after. His name was Matthew, he was eleven and he didn't like school but adored sports. My husband likes school related activities and does not like sports.  I knew that my husband would never want to be a big brother since he already raised three boys and this was his first break; however I  also knew that he was kind and and would  not want to  disappoint anyone. He again started screaming 'Ive had enough responsibility for a life time  and I need a break.'  and said he was leaving the farm that instant and got in the  car.    I had to block him on the road and say 'April Fools!'  He wasn't happy but knowing it was April Fools he had to see some humour in it.

When I told people about my April Fools' they thought it was really weird  and a tad untoward. They didn't say that but I could tell by their faces. When I was at a big party yesterday I found out that no one there had concocted  an April Fools caper. What is up with that? They said that not even their children do them.  One woman said she thought they were 'mean'. A teacher told me it is discouraged at school as is bullying. I understand  banning bullying, but what is wrong with a little hoax as a day-off from rationality and adult responsibility one day a year for five minutes?  Haven't we carried this whole empathy,  earnest number  way too far? We worry about being politically correct or sensitive to the point that we are tyrannized by it.

I know people think I am weird  and 'over the top' but I am going to keep up April Fools even if I am the last person on earth doing it. When they cart me away in a white straight jacket screaming, 'but wait it was April Fools! I can refer them to this blog for some historical context.


9 comments:

  1. I so appreciate your humour, you have no idea. I too, have created an elaborate April Fool's joke to play on my niece for most of the last 10 years. She is a high achieving type and so I tapped into that aspect of her personality. It all started in 2002 when she was in her final grade of high school. I typed a fake newspaper article saying that local school boards would keep schools open on Easter Monday for students to put in some extra time. At the end of the "article" (which obviously looked authentic, b/c she fell for it) certain students were named and of course her name was there along with several other 'students'. Anyway since that first April Fool joke when she really believed my joke, it gave me complete joy every year to come up with a new creative way to fool her.
    One of my favourites was the year she was applying to get in to grad school in publishing (she is an English major) and she had applied and been accepted to Oxford Brooks in England but wasn't sure she would go. I wrote - yet again - a fake letter from the prestigious John Milton School of International Publishing and Arts in Angulla, (no such place) which currently had 1 graduate student. An exerpt:
    The International Publishing program offered here, has a focus on 20th century authors with specific literary interests in fauna, or as you say in the North, “native animals”. As we are a small nation with protected environmental habitats, it is only natural that we would attract such aspiring authors and publishers. Our national mascots, the Curly-coated Manicoot and the Sulphur-breasted Cuckoo Bird are revered across our islands. We will be pleased to forward you further information upon receipt of your request.
    Then there was a questionnaire part of which included inane questions:
    1. Describe in one sentence why you would like to pursue graduate studies in publishing. (write big)

    2. Tell us about a favourite relative (perhaps a favourite aunt) in the literary style of John Milton. Please write in your neatest cursive writing.

    3. How would you describe this relative’s sense of humour? (i.e. more like your Canadian moose or like our cuckoo?)

    Optional question:
    Describe a time you have been duped with an elaborate joke, such as an april fool’s joke

    But the enjoyment I got was that she truly believed it for a several moments. The nice part of it is that she enjoys my jokes as much as I do once she gets over the shock. It was worth the effort to find an Anguillan stamp on the internet to copy, as well as fake letterhead. I'm sure this does not sound as funny to anyone reading this as it was for me to create and for me to see my niece's reaction. April Fool's lives on in my life.
    Catherine Moloney

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I so appreciate your humour, you have no idea. I too, have created an elaborate April Fool's joke to play on my niece for most of the last 10 years. She is a high achieving type and so I tapped into that aspect of her personality. It all started in 2002 when she was in her final grade of high school. I typed a fake newspaper article saying that local school boards would keep schools open on Easter Monday for students to put in some extra time. At the end of the "article" (which obviously looked authentic, b/c she fell for it) certain students were named and of course her name was there along with several other 'students'. Anyway since that first April Fool joke when she really believed my joke, it gave me complete joy every year to come up with a new creative way to fool her.
    One of my favourites was the year she was applying to get in to grad school in publishing (she is an English major) and she had applied and been accepted to Oxford Brooks in England but wasn't sure she would go. I wrote - yet again - a fake letter from the prestigious John Milton School of International Publishing and Arts in Angulla, (no such place) which currently had 1 graduate student. An exerpt:
    The International Publishing program offered here, has a focus on 20th century authors with specific literary interests in fauna, or as you say in the North, “native animals”. As we are a small nation with protected environmental habitats, it is only natural that we would attract such aspiring authors and publishers. Our national mascots, the Curly-coated Manicoot and the Sulphur-breasted Cuckoo Bird are revered across our islands. We will be pleased to forward you further information upon receipt of your request.
    Then there was a questionnaire part of which included inane questions:
    1. Describe in one sentence why you would like to pursue graduate studies in publishing. (write big)

    2. Tell us about a favourite relative (perhaps a favourite aunt) in the literary style of John Milton. Please write in your neatest cursive writing.

    3. How would you describe this relative’s sense of humour? (i.e. more like your Canadian moose or like our cuckoo?)

    Optional question:
    Describe a time you have been duped with an elaborate joke, such as an april fool’s joke

    But the enjoyment I got was that she truly believed it for a several moments. The nice part of it is that she enjoys my jokes as much as I do once she gets over the shock. It was worth the effort to find an Anguillan stamp on the internet to copy, as well as fake letterhead. I'm sure this does not sound as funny to anyone reading this as it was for me to create and for me to see my niece's reaction. April Fool's lives on in my life.
    Catherine Moloney

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Replies
    1. Glad you liked it. There were those who didn't appreciate it.

      Delete
  6. Oh how I wish you had the time and inclination to blog every day. I damn near keeled over laughing many times while reading your first book, and recently finished the second, and now ... boo hoo ... you only blog once in a blue moon.

    Tsk. I am disappointed. After all, isn't it all about me? Making ME happy? Amusing ME?

    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to blog every day. I only wish someone paid me to do it. Anyway thanks for the kind words

      Delete
  7. Cathy, I'll keep on buying lottery tickets and when I finally win, will pay you to blog. Remind me when the time comes.
    :)

    ReplyDelete