The Rant

April Fools' Day Is Stupid

I don't care how many times you fool me, shame on you

This is what April Fool's Day smells like.

I looked up the origin of April Fools' Day. The first thing Wikipedia told me was that it was not a national holiday, and I was like, well, that, at least, is a relief. Then I announced to everyone in my office, “Wow, some senator is trying to make April Fools' Day a national holiday.” And one person, smartly, ignored me, but two people said, “Oh my God, that’s ridiculous,” and then wasted precious moments of their life talking about how ridiculous it was, and then, finally, I said, “April Fools'.” April Fools' Day.

I didn’t really do that.

But that is the stinking essence of April Fools' Day. People tell you dumb stuff like, “Oh, your car window is covered with bird shit,” and then you go outside and it isn’t. “Oh my God, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are getting divorced.” April Fools'! Oh, thank God. The equilibrium of the universe has been restored.

Of course, there is also the really tasteful stuff like when the Romanian Playboy (is that an April Fools' Day joke in itself?) printed advice for beating your wife without leaving marks. Hahaha, hilarious. Yes, of course, blame those directly responsible. But also, just blame the holiday, which is just an open invitation to callousness and a complete lack of taste, and if there’s anything humans don’t need more invitations to, it’s that.

Google regularly does an April Fools' thing. (I would love to have sat in on that brand management meeting.) Last year, it was googlesmell. Yes, people fell for the idea that you could google smells. I looked up a bunch of other things they have done and I didn’t understand any of them, except for one about getting wireless access on a rotary phone. But the sad thing is that the whole year is April Fools' Day for Google. “We are friendly innovators who enrich your lives every single day!” Oh. Wait. “No … that’s actually not true. We are removing any vestige of privacy from the face of the Earth, and this allows us to extract more money from you! April Fools'.”

I have lived through over 40 April Fools' Days and have only heard of one prank that brought anything resembling a smile to my face: A friend of mine’s husband has a big window outside his office. Wearing a wig and large sunglasses and a trench coat, she went up to the window and flashed him. He called her, slightly traumatized, to report the incident, and she let him go on for quite a while before she told him it was her.

I am not exactly sure why I hate April Fools' Day and this particular prank gets a pass. I guess maybe because it’s kind of creative and kind of dirty? That said, how does her husband not immediately recognize her naked body? What would have been even funnier, of course, would be if he had recognized her and didn’t tell her. “How was your day?” “Oh fine!” “Anything unusual happen?” “Not as far as I remember.”

If anyone tries to do anything to me on April Fools' Day, I will not laugh. I don’t like surprises. You know what’s my idea of a great surprise? No one bothering me. So if you would like to surprise me on April Fools' Day, allow it to be just another day wherein I do not have to do battle with your desire to humiliate me. Life is humiliating enough, thanks — no assistance required.

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