When I was still a toddler, I always derived a lot of pleasure from April fool's day. I can certainly recall the moments of glee when I would tell a friend or family member utter falsehoods of a shocking or heartbreaking nature, with such a straight face that they would swallow it all in; hook, line and sinker. After allowing myself some moments of sadistic pleasure at witnessing their shocked and sometimes panicky reactions, I would then remind them that it was the first of April and they had just become another statistic on the April Fools' list. The shock and panic would then swiftly give way to either sheepish grins as my noodles (prank victims) kicked themselves for falling for my lies, or at times the shock and panic would yield to angry outbursts. Either way, I would have had my fun.
One of the best pranks that I witnessed as a young teenager was when some older boys in high school, lifted a lady teacher's tiny Renault 4 from the staff parking lot and placed it by a fish pond in the school. At that time, I could not help admire what I perceived to be the pure genius of it all. Admittedly, my April Fools' pranks were limited in scope and I would never have had the guts to participate in such a daring scheme. That element of cowardice was probably good for me and saved me from a lot of trouble. It did not mean however, that I did not appreciate the deed. Sending an otherwise tough and stern teacher into a emotional mess upon discovering that her car had "disappeared" from the parking lot, was in my book, the ultimate April Fool's prank!
On hindsight, I realise that I was the April Fool. My April Fools' jokes and lies secured me a place on the real April Fools' list. The senior high school jokesters who hid the teacher's car by the fish pond, the newspaper editors who put up front page headlines about non-existant bomb blasts and tsunamis, as well as the false alarmists who tweet lies about Jackie Chan being dead on Twitter are the real fools. I say a fool is someone who does foolish things and not one who unwittingly falls victim to someone else's foolishness!
I read someone's status update on a social network today and it got me thinking. If Christianity and other religions do not condone the speaking and practising of falsehoods, can we claim to be true Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc, if we engage in them? Some might feel that my change of heart towards the day is too extreme and that I have become too judgemental on something that is just harmless fun. I do not think so. What can begin as harmless fun may develop into something bigger and not so harmless. When your April fool decides to get back at you and comes up with a retaliatory scheme that will leave you not so amused, a battle is likely to develop as newer and more distasteful methods are employed in seeking to make fools out of each other. More dangerously, the culture of lying and hurting others becomes ingrained in the minds of the younger generation who then grow up with weakened values.
Hopefully one day, most people will realise that April Fools' day is nothing but a glorification of foolish behaviour and the practice will become a thing of the past. The history of the day though, dates back to the 16th century, so do not hold your breath about it fading away! That might not happen anytime soon.