I remember how much I used to look forward to April Fool’s Day each year. There was a stretch around 2000-2010 where I thought the things posted online by companies were just endlessly amusing, and I got a kick out of seeing what they all came up with each year. I also enjoyed playing tricks on friends or family.
For some reason, that sense of fun is just not in me right now, and I’m trying to figure out why. Some of it is no doubt due to the pandemic. It just doesn’t feel right to me to be goofing around at the expense of other people. But I think it’s that last bit (“at the expense of other people) that took most of the wind out of my April Fool’s spirit.
It’s just rare that I see something that’s worth the prank these days. So far today, I’ve seen a couple of things I really liked. My sister filled her minivan with balloons to surprise her kids in the morning when they went to drive to school. I can get behind that sort of thing: a genuine, pleasant, fun surprise that elicits wonder and amazement. Five points for Gryffindor. Then a coworker’s daughter changed her birthday on Facebook to April 1st. Commence the flood of Happy Birthdays from across her Facebook frienddom, each one of them unwittingly contributing to the April Fool’s joke. I thought that was pretty ingenious (though of course, once it’s a known thing, then it’ll lose it’s luster . . .)
But so much of what I used to like about the day, I just don’t anymore. News articles that are fake aren’t nearly appealing as they used to be, thanks to the plethora of actual fake news articles out there. It used to be I’d see one and get a chuckle out of it, blithely assuming no one would think it was actually true. Now I know better, so the less of those fake articles out there, the better. (Not that I mind sites like the Onion, but for April Fool’s, even “real” news sites were sometimes joining in the fun.)
I’m wondering if I’m alone in this, or if others of you out there are just through with April Fool’s for now. Maybe I’ll change my mind about it someday in the future, but for this year . . . I just don’t care.
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