April Fool's Day: Don't Do It

By Glenn 

Last year, One Year in Texas wrote an April Fool's article that was responsible for countless deaths and even more countless confused faces. You see, the history of April Fool's Day is a history of lies and deception. Every year on the first day of the fourth month of the year, America experiences what it would be like to live with Sarah Palin as your President. It's not a pleasant prospect. Everything about the holiday makes sense in theory: practical jokes, persecution of Armenians and laughter/confusion. In fact, the earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392). The Canterbury Tales is one of the most exciting, well-written books I have ever read. Nothing gets me going like things from the Fourteenth Century. Yet how can something so precious and so ancient be turned into the twisted, grotesque day we are forced to endure every year around the beginning of the baseball season?

My first experience with April Fool's Day came when I was in third grade at Southwest Elementary School in Illinois. A group of friends and I, dubbing ourselves the "Gang of Four" (in honor of the band we all loved and listened to always), were conspiring on the best way to play a practical joke on our teacher Mrs. Roeder. A few ideas were proposed and then subsequently disregarded as too childish, including putting a whoopie cushion on her chair.

We decided instead to make believe - with faux newspaper clippings, a taped "radio broadcast" and first hand testimony - that the victims of the Challenger explosion had been found alive and well, hiding in a field nearby where the spaceship had exploded a few years earlier. We spent weeks in preparation for this joke and it really paid off when Mrs. Roeder started crying tears of happiness. Apparently a teacher friend of hers had died on the Challenger and she was overjoyed to find out that her good friend was alive. Those tears of joy turned into screams of anger when she found out we were just joking. She yelled at us, "You can't play with people's emotions just for your own Entertainment!" She was right.

I stopped doing April Fool's tricks on people after that and stopped listening to Gang of Four. However, my bad experiences would continue. My sophomore year of high school I had two classes with and a locker nearby a girl. We'll call her "Brandi" as a pseudonym for this article as I'm sure most of my high school class reads OYIT. Brandi was relatively popular, cute, funny and intelligent. She was in four honors classes; I was only in two. I talked to her occasionally but not often because at that age I was terrified of females for very different reasons than now.

On the first day of April, Brandi walked over to me at my locker before first period and asked if I wanted to go on a date that evening. I had never been asked out on a date before! I played coy, but said yes. She said I should come over to her house around 6:00 and we could decide what to do from there. Feeling it was too good to be true, I didn't tell any of my friends and held onto the silent joy thinking as soon as I verbalized it it would disappear.

I did however race home and tell everyone in the wrestling chat room where I spent most of my time online. They were supportive, but more interested in what was happening on WCW Monday Nitro next week. One of them suggested it was probably an April Fool's joke, which I brushed off like dandruff I usually had. Then I decided to break up with my online girlfriend so that if anything happened with Brandi, it could happen with a clean conscience. She was understanding, but again more interested in what was happening on WCW Monday Nitro next week.

I put on the nicest pair of pants I owned and put on the nicest nWo t-shirt I owned before driving over to her house. When I got there my heart was pounding with anticipation. Was I finally going to have this "sex" that all the boys kept talking about? Would I finally have someone to watch Monday Nitro with? I wrote those questions down on a piece of paper instead of just thinking them, so I would never forget my emotions at this exact moment. Call me a little Bob Graham, but when you are on the verge of what you think are momentous occasions in your life, you have to chronicle everything. I rang the doorbell and waited. No response. I rang it again, this time using a different finger. Still no response. Dejected I walked back to my door and my mind started envisioning the worst possible scenarios. Ultimately I concluded the worst of all: it was all an April Fool's joke. What a fool I had been! This cursed holiday had ruined my life once again.

The next day at school I found out Brandi had died in a car accident the previous evening. When I rang the doorbell her entire family was probably at the hospital. I felt relieved but deep down will always think it was going to be an April Fool's joke on me that just wasn't realized. The moral of this story and this entire article is that life is short -- too short to trick people into thinking things that aren't true. That is the most despicable kind of comedy/humor, that which rests on deception. This is one of the reasons Jerry Seinfeld is one of my favorite comedians and his new show "The Marriage Ref" is my favorite television show of all time. It's all based on real things! No one has to die for someone else to laugh. So please, on this April Fool's Day, don't pull a joke on anyone. It might be your last.


  1. This was great! This article hit every note: real life events, raw human emotions, the nWo, the Challenger explosion and, most importantly, April Fool's Day.

  2. so i was crying (okay, more like "tearing up"), then stopped when i found out brandi died. the thought of her tricking on you like that was too much to bear!

  3. I'm glad I took the time to click on this link and read this! If I ever get internet access it's brief, like right now for instance, and I'm so happy I spent it reading this instead of my peers' lame status updates!

  4. This is the most stunning portrait of American life since "The Grapes of Wrath."

  5. i would like to take a poll on how many pregnancy jokes were pulled today. then a related abortion pranks poll.

    and this article was the best non-prank ever for april fools.

  6. The car accident WAS the April Fools trick! She died for your amusement!! You gottabunchofcommentswhaddayatalkinabout!!!

  7. This is one of the most poorly written articles I've ever read.

    It's choppy and not at all cohesive. Good grief.

    It's time to buy some material from the Institute for Excellence in Writing.


  8. What articles do your read? I've read plenty that are more poorly written than this one. Have you ever read Scott Keith? His articles are more poorly written than this and he gets way more "hits" than we do. It is hard to take a negative comment seriously--although we love getting them--when you hide behind anonymity.