I promised to someone recently
to write on the topic of April Fool,
then realized the obvious:
A fool only in April?
That’s not a lot of room to manoever.
do I have to be a fool for all of April
or can I just mess up once, but that really well, and then wait for May
And are there May fools?
- and here, just as a footnote, there is a great German dialect word, mayen, which means to drink coffee, eat cake, and bad-mouth anyone who isn’t present at the moment- insuring, of course, a full compliment at any meeting of the ladies of hoo-ha, regional branch.
- Not that it’s just women, of course. The men just drink beer instead and call it something different- working overtime, or social interaction, or English lessions. But talk they do…
meanwhile, back at the ranch,
and the topic of April Fools:
as I seem to remember vaguely,
had to do with playing jokes on people who refused to follow the newly instituted Gregorian calendar,
as of about 1582 in France,
where, apparently, shouting “poisson poisson”-
the pranksters attached pictures of fishes to other people’s backs,
as the year’s major laugh.
Then there is Germany-
where you “send someone into April”-
first written mention: 1618-
Typically, nowadays, Germans try, at least, to celebrate only in the morning-
probably so you don’t drive someone so crazy it has irreconcilable consequences-
usually with bizarre media stories,
like what Hillary could learn from Angela-
Or with special ads for bargains-
a classic “wedding edition BMW,” for example.
Large enough for the entire wedding party?
Or was that costing so little you can make a down-payment
even after a lavish German wedding?
(And if you think Greek, or Polish weddings are big…
here, if you don’t invite people, they celebrate on their own in a tav,
and send you the bill.)
Then there is that all-important date:
when the calendar change,
and the jokes,
finally got to England-
and the colonies-
resulting in people wandering about the city,
after being sent out by “friends,”
on “fools errands”
like searching for “a measure of deportment.”
Sounds like fun.
Was that a peck or a modicum you wanted?
Still, though, it was a major calendar change,
and did have consequences,
especially for modern historians,
(and here, a special tip of the hat to the Hoax Museum in San Diego-
one of the best hoaxes around)
or for family ancestry freaks,
as I read somewhere years ago when doing a course in literary history,
it makes a difference if you are reading documents about that time period,
and suddenly everything has two years
ie the tax rolls of April 1799/1800
I mean, already back in school days,
I was one of the few kids who never had a school birthday,
since school wasn’t in session,
and suddenly I have two birthdates.
(over here, since it coincides with two Saints’ days, with my very own fireworks)
And if that isn’t fate getting a kick in the pants….
on the plus side,
And all things considered,
At least I wasn’t born on leap year day.
Now that would have been tricky.
Birth year 1799/1800 or 1803/4
Not that I was born way back then,
despite what some of you may think,
unless it is in binary code perhaps,
or unless the date wasn’t a leap year,
And with that…
Happy April Fools’ Day
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