April Fool's Day

Another year, another April Fools' Day, and I haven't played a joke or had one played on me. In fact, it's been years since someone has fooled me and even longer since I've been fooled. I guess traditions are made to be broken, and I'll now almost certainly fall for something later today.

April Fools' Day is one of those holidays that has apparently gained more cultural cachet with the increasing prominence of social networking. Post after post on my timeline has paid some lip service to the time honored tradition of fooling one's friends, family, and acquaintances. Fake news stories find a ready audience on Facebook and twitter. Although not as ubiqitous as yesterday's opening day baseball posts, there is still something about April Fools' Day that resonates in the national (and international) zeitgeist. A day to drop all the stress and drama in order innocently fool our peers appeals to the embittered psyche.

If it happened on the opening day of baseball season, there would invariably be a plethora of baseball related practical jokes and new urban legends, stemming from our fascination with the sport. While probably not as literate or historically considered as the songs on the new Baseball Project record, 3rd, they would undoubtedly further the mythos of both baseball and April Fool's joke traditions.

April Fools' Day is part of a long tradition of other holidays that celebrated the joke and the hoax. The Roman Festival Hilaria, celebrated for Cybele on the Vernal Equinox, and the Medieval Feast of Fools on December 28th are two precursors that are still celebrated in some countries. Different countries each have their own traditions for the day, depending on the national sense of humor and sensibility. In the UK, people that play jokes after midday are considered to be the fool, so getting the joke in early is considered proper. Purportedly, there is an Irish tradition of delivering a letter that reads "send the fool further."

April Fools' Day isn't serious, but not all holidays have to be. It allows people to let off steam after the winter is over, which is especially important this year because the poor weather has cramped everyone's style. Jokes are an excellent way to express what we are feeling, while April Fools' Day is a great way to carry on an amusing human tradition, adding our own stamp to the mix. All I can say is: "Bring it on. I dare you to fool me." I can give as good as I get.


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