Saturday, April 02, 2005

Gotcha! April Fool

So the first day of April has always given me the heebie-jeebies; that feeling that someone will try to pull a fast one and I'm on red alert. But I've never been sure why we choose this particular day to act the goat, so I consulted Google. These days you can search for anything or anyone on Google: you can even search for yourself and experience the utter ignominy of not being mentioned at all. Not appearing on the most famous internet search engine is tantamount to knowing no one will write your obituary; that you and your life were collectively mind-bogglingly boring.

So I searched for myself and came up as a variety of women, none of whom were me. Still, they are an impressive lot. One is a professor at the University of Southern Colorado who has written many books, one of which is called Qualitative Research Methods to Improving Engineering Retention, which is something I've always meant to get around to doing, but ... time flies.

Another name-alike is the the head of the Stuttering Foundation of America; well, gggoodness me, not I!

Needless to say, the history of April Fool's Day seems lost in the fog of time but the most logical explanation is that when Charles IX introduced the Gregorian calendar, which moved New Year's Day from the beginning of spring to January, some of the more stubborn among men refused to budge and became objects of mockery and derision, which is a feeling some of us know well. To show their disgust, the modernists took to kicking the hapless fools on the backside, telling others their shoelaces were undone and that sort of sophisticated behaviour.

Google has its top 10 practical jokes and these include: in 1957 BBC news show Panorama announced that, thanks to a mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. Thousands of viewers were taken in and called the station to find out how to grow their own spaghetti trees.

In other flights of folly, Burger King published a full-page advertisement in USA Today in 1998 announcing the introduction of a Left-Handed Whopper specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans (the condiments had been rotated 180 degrees, it said). Thousands marched in to buy one.

And in 1976 British astronomer Patrick Moore announced a particular time of the next day when Pluto was going to pass behind Jupiter, causing a gravitational alignment, which meant if people jumped in the air at that time they would float. Hundreds said they did and one women reported that she and her 11 friends had risen from their chairs and whizzed around the ceiling. This was surely the height of silliness.

5 Comments:

Blogger No_Newz said...

So did anyone get you yesterday? I tricked a couple of friends in IM. Said I was pregnant but Mr. Lane is fixed and I am worried about telling him because he will never believe the baby is his. So my one "friend" asked, "Is it his?" I think that was funnier than the joke itself! My friend thinks I'm a ho! hahahaha! You ever wish you were having half as much fun as some people think you are?
Lois Lane

12:33 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I remember hearing about those. The big one I remember, as a high-schooler in Washington was the news (With photo evidence) that the Space Needle had collapsed. Several of us were duped with that one.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Lois, no thankgoodness! OMG, i can't believe your friend...that is hilarious...one of the funniest stories i have heard, i swear woman you missed your vocation as a stand up comedianne..LOL
Lois, doesn't make you wonder what your friends think of you deep down, if they have to question you?!

Steve, we've had some great ones pulled by local radio stations here. It amazes me how people get suckered in so quickly.

6:20 PM  
Blogger if_i_had_a_hammer said...

in italian, April Fool's Day is called Il Pesce d' Aprile, which literaly translates to "the fish of April." I'm not sure why I needed to point that out, but do with it what you will.

8:33 PM  
Blogger English Professor said...

Here's another big one: Orson Welles's radio broadcast of _War of the Worlds_.

2:52 AM  

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