As a child, I felt such relief when April Fool’s Day fell on a weekend. Since, there was no school, there were no kids lying in wait to prey upon me. I would be able to go about my day without worrying about what lied behind every corner. There would be no bra straps being popped (I developed early so my bras were always a target of interest.) There would be no ketchup packets squirted in my direction, no rubber bands shot at my face, and no signs stuck to my back. I could breathe freely. But, if April Fool’s fell on a school day there was no way to escape it. I knew that the big prank was waiting for me and I was a ball of nerves because of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good joke or a harmless prank, but unfortunately, most pranks are not harmless. They often leave the victim feeling humiliated and sometimes even physically injured. April Fool’s Day is a dream for bullies or would be bullies, because no matter how bad the so called prank is, it is acceptable as long as one loudly exclaims, “April Fools!”.
Even now, as an adult, I have an unshakeable sense of boding on April Fool’s Day. The excuse for physical pranks of childhood has since been replaced with an excuse to lie and steal.
One time in the workplace, I came in to find that the jar of fundraising money that had been on my desk was missing. I asked everyone about it and looked everywhere for it, in hopes that maybe someone had locked it up for me, but it was nowhere to be found. I was a mess. It was hundreds of dollars that I had been entrusted with and it was gone. I would certainly have to replace it with personal funds…then suddenly after hours of searching, someone that I had already asked about it, hands it to me, smiles and yells “April Fool’s!”
Just because she said “April Fool’s”, didn’t change the fact that she stole money from my desk, and let me waste hours of my day looking for it and worrying. That is not okay.
“April Fool’s” is not some kind of magical spell that protects people from being hurt when exclaimed, and April Fool’s Day should not be a cloak of invisibility for pranksters that are really just bullies.
I can’t help but wonder why we continue to perpetuate a day for laughs at the expense of others as a holiday to celebrate.