Scientists recently discovered that because the Charleston area lies on a major earthquake fault line, all land within a 50-mile radius of its epicenter is ripe for volcanoes, which could crop up at any time and with little warning. Is your house prepared to withstand thousands of cubic feet of molten lava flowing through it like a blazing river of fire? If volcano insurance isn’t covered under your umbrella policy, it’s important to add it before it’s too late.
April fools! Did we have you questioning your lack of volcano insurance for a moment? The time is near when practical jokers have their day in the sun, but this strange holiday is not something that was just invented in the past few decades. Also called “All Fools’ Day,” people across varying cultures have been celebrating the gullibility of their friends, co-workers and casual acquaintances for centuries – but its origins are still unclear.
Some historians speculate it relates back to an ancient Roman festival, Hilaria, celebrating the end of winter. Others think it is connected to the Celtic new year or the vernal equinox. Still more believe it ties in with the book of Genesis and Noah’s releasing of a dove from his ark before the flood waters receded.
Another plausible theory is that the holiday began in 1582 when France switched to the Gregorian calendar, and those who weren’t aware of the change celebrated the “new year” on April 1, based on the former Julian calendar. In France, people still celebrate by putting a paper fish on a person’s back and calling them a “poisson d’Avril,” (April fish), to joke that they are as gullible as an easy-to-catch fish.
Whatever its true origin, April Fools’ Day has escalated to the masses in recent decades, with one of the first and most famous media exploits being a report from the BBC in 1957 on Switzerland’s spaghetti harvest, complete with a video of women picking spaghetti from trees. Since then, hundreds of companies have followed suit and somehow continue to fool people year after year. From fast food pranks like Burger King’s “left-handed Whopper,” which has all the ingredients of a normal Whopper but rotated 180 degrees, to internet pranks like the faked death of Grumpy Cat or PC Computing’s report of an “internet drunk surfing” bill in Congress, to Sir Richard Branson reportedly buying Pluto and reinstating it as a planet, no topic is safe on the first day of April.
Hopefully a little education on the topic will have you ready for April Fools’ Day, either to be the pranker or to help you not become a poisson d’avril. But be sure to check on your volcano insurance policy; April 1st is also the start of volcano season.
What are some of your most memorable April Fools’ jokes?
We printed out a fake parking violation and put it on my sister-in-law’s car when were on vacation. She freaked out because the fine was $594. She called the police station, and everyone in on the joke was dying laughing behind her while she was arguing with the person on the other line for at least 10 minutes. Hysterical.
– Krystal Vargha
When my kids (age 6 and 7) woke up, I told them there was a treat in a baking dish for them. But they looked in and saw a cut out “E” from brown construction paper, instead of actual brownies! Kid humor!
– Elizabeth Knabb Sparks
When in college, a friend once put an ad in the paper for free goats and listed our number. He said only to call between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. We kept getting calls from people telling us they were interested in our free goats and asking when could they stop by. Well played.
– Mindy Rice Carmines
The most terrible ones are the April fools scratch off tickets – people get so excited before they realize it’s not true. We won’t do that again because we felt too bad after. But you can’t go wrong with the rubber band around the sink sprayer handle – the most annoying of them all!
– Christy Risher Bivens
My wife tried to fool me by replacing the cream in an Oreo with white toothpaste and putting it back in the box. The package smelled so minty that it was obvious, and then the rest of the cookies tasted minty, too. The joke was on her!
– Scott Toole
I told my then-fiancé who was out of town that the dog we had recently adopted had had puppies. We had adopted a clearly male dog, but my fiancé completely believed me and was most unhappy that the shelter could have made such a gender mistake and we had given a female dog a male name. Eight years later, we are still married and still have our Bodie – and no puppies!
– Patty Howison
By Anne Toole