“Nothing in this book is true.”
–Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
I love April Fool’s Day.
Well, let me clarify. I like jokes and pranks that are inclusive, that knowingly wink to people and say, “This is clearly not true, but wouldn’t it be wonderful and funny if it were?” To me, the best pranks are ones that help remind people how absurd and goofy and wondrous the world is. On the other hand, I can’t stand jokes and pranks that make people feel stupid or foolish, where the whole point is to laugh at someone for believing the lie. That’s just mean, and I’m not a fan of being mean.
But let’s get over the fact that you can’t believe everything you hear and read on April Fool’s Day, because you can’t believe everything you hear and read any day. That doesn’t mean you’re stupid or that other people are untrustworthy. It just means that “truth” is oftentimes a slippery concept and some lies aren’t so bad. A lot of the “truths” that we cling to aren’t truths, but they make us happy anyway. As Kurt Vonnegut says in Cat’s Cradle, “Live by the foma [harmless untruths] that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”
April Fool’s Day, at its best, celebrates this mad, silly, absurd aspect of life. On this day, we make up lies, stories, tall tales and jokes to entertain each other, to remind each other to not take life too seriously and to pay attention to the strangeness and wackiness of life.
Laugh with me today! It’s a funny old world we live in. Never take that for granted.