April Fool’s brings a much-needed release


Ellis McGinleyCopy Editor

April 1 is just around the corner, bringing with it Easter baskets, warmer weather, and of course, April Fools’ Day.

Celebrated from Iran to Ireland, April Fools’ Day, or All Fools’ Day, is a minor holiday of dubious origin. It may have been the spring equinox in a pre-Gregorian calendar: it may be linked to the Latin “Hilaria”, which involved various costumes and jests. Some countries, like Iran, say they have celebrated the holiday since around 500BCE.

April Fools’ is first truly recorded beginning in the 18th century. Various newsletters throughout England would report people sent to view the “Washing of the Lions” or parades in local cities on April 1 – parades which never happened, and the “Washing of the Lions” being a made-up ceremony.

Now, April Fools’ is often commercial. Companies like Starbucks sell Pup Bucks, while Spotify replaced “Discover Weekly” playlists with “Disco” – yes, just covers of various disco songs. Amazon pitched “Audible for Fish” and Tinder added a “height verification.”

I appreciate a good, capitalist gag from time to time, but I’m proposing we take this April Fools’ into our own hands. After a long year of quarantine, online learning, political turmoil and so much more stress, we have a holiday entirely dedicated to nothing but nonsense.

I would not know. Lately my idea of “fun” has been watching cat TikTok compilations, which does not wholly align with what I thought I be doing my freshman year of college.

Yes, it is silly and probably childish to pull a prank here or there, but if no one gets hurt, why not seize the chance for some fun? We’ve been given a free pass to silliness and childishness without justification in a time where everything from riding a bus to touching a doorknob might have dire consequences.

The key there, though, is that no one should get hurt. “Classic” April Fools’ pranks include replacing shampoo with hair dye, asking people out, pulling fire alarms, pretending to be dead (thanks, YouTubers), or various combinations of putting things in people’s food and drinks. A gross prank is one thing: to risk triggering an allergy, though, is another.

And while those are just disrespectful, there’s also the truly dangerous “pranks.” Good rule of thumb: if you, someone you know, or someone you’re about to know could bleed and/or cry, it is not worth it. And do not even think about tampering with masks or hand sanitizer. Simply no.

Signing them up for newsletters from the Ferret Association of Connecticut, though? Instant classic. Put Saran wrap on something. There’s a really nice bronze statue of an owl out there you could probably do something with – although I beg you to clean it up yourself, for the sake of respecting university custodial staff.

This April Fools’, I’m asking: please be smart. We are not out of the dark ages of COVID-19 yet, and the virus makes it all too easy for one mistake to become something much more serious. But I’m also thrilled for a day to willingly make a fool of myself, and I think that is something everyone can look forward to.

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