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April Fools Day or, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gregorian Calendar

Filed under: Anniversaries,Holidays,Life & How to Live It,Satire,Useful Information — Tags: , , — Positronic Dave @ 1:24 pm March 31, 2011

For those amongst us who are children, and for those that are just otherwise malicious, April Fools Day is tomorrow. As I’m sure you are aware, busy as you must be, unscrewing sugar and salt shaker tops, plugging up toilets and preparing to phone in false reports to the local police. April Fools Day is the holiday when cruel, emotionally-taxing hoaxes are the gifts that keep on giving.

As a side-note, apropos of nothing more than it is; my wife and I were married on April 1st. Many of our friends weren’t sure if they were actually going to a wedding that day. We asked everybody to dress in black, and the neighbors thought there was a wake at our house, so they were extra quiet. Tomorrow will be my wife and I’s 5th anniversary. I’m going to have someone phone her from the RI Hospital Emergency Ward, telling her I didn’t make it. It should be a “laff riot” as they say in the “gag” world.

The birth story of April Fools Day goes back to the early 158os, when King Charles IX of France decided to revise the calendar, in order to make room in it for pictures of cute kittens hanging from trees and exhortations to stand strong until “Friday.” This caused quite a stir back then, as it moved the New Year’s celebration back 3 months By God, some people just weren’t having it, and continued to celebrate as they always had. This gained them the mockery and derision of everybody else, who played tricks on them. They became known as “poisson d’avril” or “April fish” and people would hang paper fish on their backs when they weren’t looking. ¬†And then turn them in for being witches, or educated, or both.

As you can imagine, the joyous celebration that was April Fools’ Day spread throughout Europe like a second, funnier plague. If you can’t imagine this, close your eyes, lean your head back, and open your mouth… trust me…

In Scotland, it became known as “Taily Day” and features buttock-specific humor. The old classic “kick me” sign taped to someone’s back owes its origin to the Scots. You have to love the Scots.

One modern April Fools Day favorite, and very popular amongst those working in the plumbing profession, is the old “mix jello into the toilet” trick. It takes a couple of boxes, but when it gels, there is nothing funnier to a man being paid $40/hr for house visits.

So remember, nothing says “I Love You, Special Person” on this merriest of predacious holidays than a faked call from the Police Station “because of what they found in the trunk when they pulled you over.” After all, you’re not doing this April Fools’ Day prank for yourself… you’re doing it for them. Because you’re a people person. You care.