Goober’s Words of Wisdom: April Fools
Goober was asked by the editor of the paper that I work for if he would write a special column for April Fool’s Day. You can find the paper’s website here. Goober’s article is presented below.
Mr. Chuck, the nice man who owns this paper, is letting me write a column since he is leaving for South Dakota for a few days. Because today is the first day of April, I thought I would tell you about some nice things to do for your friends today.
You can tape magnets to the bottom of an empty coffee cup, and attach it to the top of your car. Laugh at all the people who frantically try to get your attention as you drive by.
Set your friend’s alarm clock for the middle of the night and hide it somewhere in the room where they will have to get up and scramble around to turn it off. (This works even better if you sneak in after they go to sleep and unscrew the light bulb in their lamp. Then they’ll have to search for the clock in the dark!)
If your friend still has a phone with a hook that presses down when the handset is in the cradle, tape it down. When he or she answers a call it will keep ringing.
Take about 20 (or more) paper or plastic cups, place them on your friend’s desk and fill them with water. Then take a stapler and staple them all together. You can also put the cups on the floor blocking their door, or just about anywhere.
Leave a phone message for the victim that says that a “Mr. Lyon” called (or Mr. Behr also works), and wants to be called back. Then list the phone number of a local zoo.
You could take all of your friend’s paperclips and string them together in one chain.
Did your friend have a major project due today? Did they leave it out where you can find it? Just take some paper that looks somewhat similar to their project. Set their real project aside, and spill a drink or something messy all over the fake project.
Or you could…
What Mr. Chuck? You want me to do what? But nobody’s will want to read about that, History is boring. * sigh *
Mr. Chuck is making me tell you about the history of April Fool’s Day.
April Fool’s Day or All Fool’s Day began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under King Charles Ix. I don’t know why King Ix changed the calendar but he did. He moved New Year’s Day from March 25 – April 1 (new year’s week? Why did it take them a week to celebrate New Year’s Day? Maybe that’s why he changed it). to January 1. Mainly because he wanted New York people to freeze outside while they watched that big ball drop.
Not everyone knew about this new calendar right away. Communication traveled slowly back then because the Internet had not been invented yet. Some peoples were only informed of the change several years later. Other people who knew about the change but didn’t like the government telling them what to do, were more rebellious and refused to acknowledge the change. They continued to celebrate the New Year in the spring on April 1.
All of these peoples who celebrated New Year’s in April were called “fools” by everybody who celebrated the New Year in January by freezing. The peoples who celebrated in the spring were made fun of and sent on “fool errands” and had other practical jokes played on them.
This changed over time and a custom of prank-playing continued on the first day of April even after everybody started to celebrate the new year by freezing in January. This tradition eventually spread to places like to England and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because America is a big country and peoples all over the world like to do what Americans do (they don’t like it when we tell them what to do) April Fool’s Day has become a world wide holiday. Each country celebrates the holiday in its own way because they want to be different.
In Scotland, for instance, April Fool’s Day is devoted to pranks involving your bottom end and as such is called Taily Day. The butts (no pun intended) of these jokes are known as April ‘Gowk’, another name for cuckoo bird. Does that mean the “Kick Me” sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance?
In England, jokes are played only in the morning. I don’t know why people play jokes in the morning. I think you’d be better to stay up late and play jokes on the peoples still in bed. Anyway England ‘fools’ are called ‘gobs’ or ‘gobby’ and the victim of a joke is called a ‘noodle.’ It was considered bad luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon. The best way to avoid being an April Fool in England is to sleep late.
In Rome, April Fool’s Day is called the Festival of Hilaria and takes place on March 25. Why the Romans have April Fool’s Day in March is something I don’t know. It celebrates the resurrection of the god Attis, and is also referred to as “Roman Laughing Day.”
In Portugal, April Fool’s Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends. That’s not a very creative joke. I can think better things to throw at your friends. Flour just gets in your hair.
So, no matter where you happen to be in the world on April 1, don’t be surprised if April fools fall playfully upon you.
(Editor’s Note: Steve Nibbelink, our ad designer, is also the leader of One Way Express, a local puppet troupe from Holland, Iowa. His alter-ego, Goober the Puppet, has entertained folks in the tri-county area since 2005).