April Approaches

There's a lot to look forward to in April: Daylight Savings Time, a new hockey season, the Easter Bunny's arrival, warmer weather, blooming flowers.... Unfortunately, to get to all those good things, we have to enter April via its first official day, otherwise known as April Fool's Day. Oh, how I loathe April Fool's Day.

It's not so much that I don't have a sense of humor (I do, really!); it's that I don't find practical jokes particularly funny, and I don't appreciate being lied to. These seem to be the hallmarks of any successful April Fool's Day. My father seemed to look forward to April 1 every year, though specific memories of tortuous April Fool's breakfasts with him only date back to my pre-teen years, when my sister and I got up early enough for school that we would see him before he left for work. His cousin Ducky, who was in perpetual tease-the-kids-with-lies-and-practical-jokes mode, seemed to regard the day as something of a national holiday. Ducky's own kids seemed to roll with it, but I was always demanding exasperatedly that he just tell me the truth, which is probably where the rumor that I have no sense of humor started.

My hatred of April Fool's Day pre-dates The Great April Fool's Debacle of 1980, but certainly that incident cemented April 1 as a day of infamy, a day to call in sick, a day to avoid contact with other humans if at all possible. The story goes like this: I'd woken up that morning with an impression so strong I can only call it a premonition. It wasn't like hearing a voice so much as having a message stamped clearly on my brain: KIM AND LAVINIA WILL PRETEND TO BE YOUR FRIENDS TODAY. IT'S AN APRIL FOOL'S JOKE. DO NOT BE FOOLED. Wow, I thought. I will be *totally* prepared for their shenanigans!

At recess that day, another girl from our class approached me and said, "Kim and Lavinia want you to come play with them." I was wary, and said no thanks. She kept insisting, however, so I finally went over, prepared to call their bluff. Kim and Lavinia seemed a bit reserved at first, too, but then we got sucked into some game of pretend or another, and I forgot all about being wary. We played together for the remainder of recess, and then on the way back up the hill to our classroom, Kim and Lavinia started telling stories. I remember Lavinia telling one about a particularly large crap that she had taken, which was odd for a relatively prim 6th grader in those days. I was a bit shocked, and tried to come up with a more appropriate word for the one she was using ("shit", I believe), when they stopped me short.

"Lori, I don't know how to tell you this," said Kim. "But all this has been a practical joke. We don't like you at all!" "April Fool's!" they squealed as they ran up the path ahead of me, leaving me standing there, completely dumbstruck. I finally yelled after them, "I know! I knew that! I knew it was just a joke!", but it was too late. Who would believe I'd had a premonition that this very thing would happen? And who *wouldn't* believe me a fool for falling for it anyway?

OK, so maybe I hate April Fool's Day because, as a fool, I take it on the chin on April 1. I prefer to think of myself as someone with an overdeveloped sense of justice, and ok, possibly, an underdeveloped sense of humor. Whichever you think of as the greater handicap, please keep it in mind and take pity on me tomorrow. No practical jokes, please.

Posted by Lori in me, me, me at 2:45 PM on March 31, 2003