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Who is the April Fool this 'April Fools Day'?

A illustration of a court jester or fool. An April Fool, perhaps.

Is it the woman who has a sign saying “KICK ME” on her ass? Is it the man who spits out his first sip of morning coffee because someone in the family put salt in the sugar

bowl? Perhaps both people would qualify under usual circumstances, but this year there are many candidates of a far greater April Fools Day prank.

The history of this day of foolishness goes back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar of the Middle Ages to our modern Gregorian one. That change

moved the start of the year from a date around the Spring Equinox to January first. Any citizens slow to modernize were called April Fools and made the butts of jokes and

scams. So, you see, we are free to consider any foolish shenanigans between March twenty-first and the beginning of April as April Fool tricks.

We are all good candidates for the title of Fool in 2024, especially those of us living in

the Oxford Hills of Maine. Mother Nature is a skilled prankster, giving us a warmer than

normal winter season with record low snowfall. Made us think it was time to start

cleaning mulch off our garden beds, before lowering the boom with a record spring

snowfall of twenty-five plus inches. There was one fool in particular (not to mention his

name) who had parked his snow blower on a forty-foot deck running along the side of

his house, preparing to repair it at season’s end. The day after the storm he went

outside to retrieve the machine for strenuous use only to find that two feet of roof snow

had fallen and buried it. He chose to let the snow melt off the blower, thinking it easier to

shovel until every muscle in his body hurt.

But that man is not alone. Thanks to a very early Easter holiday scheduled for March

thirty-first, libraries in many Maine communities are scheduling their traditional spring

egg hunts for the Saturday before. Eggs full of candy buried in snowbanks left from the

above-mentioned storm will likely be found when Spring finally decides to stop playing

its tricks on us.

Just as tricks are played on us year after year, we may never tire of tricking others as

well as ourselves. Just as in 1992, when NPR announced that Richard Nixon was

making a political comeback. Or in 2000 when Google introduced “MentalPlex”, a

software allowing users to search the net without using words. Or 1972 when a

prankster in Scotland gave us live pictures of Nessy in Loch Ness.

Here's a suggestion for a harmless trick to irritate adult and children alike. Stuff

crumpled paper in the toes of a family member’s shoes. Will they think their feet have

grown overnight or will they never forgive you?

Hey, kick me. Go ahead!

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