April Fool’s Day: A New Look
An Editorial By Randy Harris
As far back as I can remember and beyond, April Fool’s Day has always been celebrated by tricks, pranks and deception. While my 30 years of life represents a small blip in the history of humankind, I do not believe that April Fool’s Day has changed much over the years (except perhaps more technologically advanced jokes). While the exact origin of this “holiday” are unknown, there are theories that date back to the 1300s. If such theories are true, that would mean we have been playing pranks on each other on April 1 for 700 years.
Personally, I have never really connected with April Fool’s Day. Perhaps it is because I have never been very good at coming up with pranks. Perhaps it is because, to be perfectly honest, I am fairly gullible and usually do not see it coming when I am the recipient of the prank. I enjoy a joke as much as the next guy, and I consider myself to be a fairly creative mind, but for some reason, that creativity has never translated into the world of jokes and pranks.
For this reason, I have decided to look at April Fool’s Day in a new light. Instead of setting out to create the fool by causing deception and humiliation, I would like to see April 1 as a celebration of the Fool. Tarot cards date back to the mid-15th century, and their use in divination, or fortune telling, began in the late-18th century. The Fool is one of the most intriguing cards among these mysterious decks, and today, April 1, 2018, the 31st April Fool’s Day of my lifetime, I find myself feeling a special connection to this character.
There are thousands of articles, and probably even whole books, about the symbolism of the Fool. The basics, however, show that the Fool (upright) represents new beginnings, innocence, purity, spontaneity, a free spirit, etc. Tarot cards are numbered, just like our usual 52-card decks, and the Fool is assigned the number 0, representing unlimited potential. Another way to view the number 0’s significance is the view that the Fool is meant to represent someone who is about to start a journey. He looks toward the future with excitement as he readies himself for the unknown. The Fool can have a much different meaning, however, if it is presented “reversed,” or upside down. In this case, the Fool represents naivety, foolishness, recklessness and other traits that provide us with a more common depiction of a “fool.”
So, why am I telling you this? While I urge those of you who enjoy April Fool’s Day for its current purpose to continue, by all means, to enjoy it as-is, I would encourage all of you to think of April 1 as an opportunity for new beginnings. Based on its representation when presented “upright,” I believe we should celebrate the Fool by reflecting on how we may improve our lives, as well as the world around us. What are we doing well? What can we fix? Are we heading towards that “reversed” position of naivety and recklessness? How can we “upright” our lives and reach for new heights? Just something to think about.
I am not writing this to tell you how to live your life, and I am not writing this to try to destroy or abolish April Fool’s Day. I simply wish to present a different way of thinking about April 1 for those of you who, like me, were never able to connect with the pranks and jokes of the day. Personally, I intend to celebrate the Fool in all his glory on April 1, henceforth. I hope you will join me (in between pranks of course) in this continuous search for new beginnings.