What I love about April Fool’s Day is that it’s the only holiday of the year that celebrates cynicism and disappointment.
Where so many other, lesser holidays go the mushy, sentimental route, April Fool’s makes it its mission to takes us all down a notch. And I’m all for it.
Remember how I called you at work to say that when you got home I’d have your favorite meal waiting for you on the table? Well, April Fool’s, dummie. There’s peanut butter in the pantry.
The day even has an insult built into its name, as if taking your loved ones at their words makes you some kind of sucker. And maybe it does. It’s a tough world out there and maybe only through a shock-and-awe campaign of brutal lies and let-downs can we teach our children, and our children’s children, to keep their expectations nice and low.
You ask me, it shouldn’t just be April Fool’s Day; it should be April Fool’s Week! It should be a national holiday. The government should fund initiatives dedicated solely to setting up elaborate scenarios meant to break kids’ spirits and teach them life lessons.
TEACHER: “We have something very special for you today, class. You’ve all been randomly selected to be the first kids in Florida to try out a brand new theme park, called Crazy Fun No School Town! And we leave right now!”
(The class erupts in cheers. They board a publically funded bus. They sing songs as the driver pulls out of the parking lot. They press their noses against the glass in anticipation. They begin to look confused as the bus pulls a U-turn a half-mile away and heads back toward the school. Some start to cry as the bus returns to where it came from, and the driver puts it in park.)
TEACHER: “April Fool’s, dummies! There’s no such thing as Crazy Fun No School Town — and if you ever cracked open a book, like I’m always telling you, you would’ve known that. Now get off the bus and get out your journals. Due in one hour is 1,000 words on how each of you are plan to work on your out-of-control senses of entitlement.”
I’m thinking it might not have always been like this. I’m thinking, at some point, April Fool’s was about clever ruses that challenged people’s wit and deductive reasoning. But where’s the fun in that? Mean-spirited, bald-face lying — now that’s where the money is.
Walking down the street April 1, I was in my glory, hitting passersby with all kinds of lies. “Neat shirt!” “Cool hat!” “Nice face!” Then I’d follow each up with a hearty “APRIL FOOL’S!” which reminded them to trade in their high horses for some sneakers. And I could tell, by the look on their dumb faces, right above their tacky t-shirts and beneath their ugly hats, that they were grateful.
My only regret in all this is that the Girl Scouts were already finished selling cookies by April 1. I could only imagine the impact I’d have, walking up to their booth outside Publix, donning my Monopoloy man top hat, cane and monocle, to explain that I’ve always had a soft spot for youth programs and wanted to buy their entire stock to support the cause.
I’d wait for them to pack up the order and tell me my total. And then, with a white-gloved hand, I’d slide a check toward them with the word “VOID” written across it in big, block letters.
Then I’d smile.
“Sorry, dummies,” I’d wink. “April Fool’s.”
And those little squirts would learn something big that day, something they’d never find in books or in a classroom. Watching as I sauntered away, windmilling my cane around my finger, they’d know that this is just one of the countless reasons why you never, ever, trust a man in a monocle.
BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR