What a Fool Believes

I’ve never liked April Fool’s Day, not since I was a little kid and a friend’s dad told me I had a bird on my head.

And yes, I recognize that seven or eight years old — which I’m guessing I was at the time — is a bit young to be so uptight. Nevertheless, I didn’t like a bunch of adults laughing at me when I touched my head to see if I did have a bird atop it.

The only April Fool’s Day gag I fell for and wasn’t bent out of shape was George Plimpton’s incredible article in the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated.

The Curious Case of Sidd Finch” endures as more than a ruse; it’s a legendary piece of sports writing.

The subhead:

He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd’s deciding about yoga—and his future in baseball.

With the possible exception of Google’s April 1, 2004 launch of Gmail — which everyone presumed was fake — April Fool’s Day jokes don’t stick the landing nor do they age well.

In his blog post today, Seth Godin nails it:

When the world was small, our understanding of ‘reality’ was consistent, which is why a good April Fool’s joke felt right. It tweaked the normal just enough to cause us to wonder about what else might not be as it seems.

The first of April was a day when we were supposed to be aware that not everything was as it seemed, that we should be on our guard. And now, exhausting as it is, every day is like that.