Ovid in Exile

Canceling the Cancellation of April Fools’ Day

Let’s face it. We’ve had a year of suffering fools. So we’re taking a stand to favor the return of April Fools’ Day from its cancellation in pandemic times. If we can’t laugh at absurdity, or find a way to smile despite angst and suffering, then the future is bleak.

Last year, April Fools’ pranks were banned. Google decreed they would take no part in lightheartedness. The corporate world followed. We trudged through a year of death, anger, and even an insurrection – with little to laugh about. Unfortunately, the cancellation of April Fools did not protect us from fools with misinformation.

Can We Laugh Yet?

This year, some folks are up for it. Kraft Heinz announced V by Velveeta – a “liquid gold” luxury skincare line. Rub it in. Volkswagen staged a fake re-launch of its venerable brand as Voltswagen, fooling the business press and investors alike.

But it seems that not everybody is ready for this. Slate demands to know: “What was VW thinking?” Google is canceling April Fools’ Day for the second year in a row. An internal email decreed the pause in pranks will persist:

“With much of the world still grappling with serious challenges, we feel we should again pause the jokes for April Fools’ Day this year.”

Grace and Humor

Frankly, the humbuggers are wrong. Bad jokes will always fall flat. But we all need a good laugh. Good humor can help us endure hard times. In fact, research in the April issue of Health Communication suggests a role for humor in mental and physical health. This observational study finds a significant interaction for humor and mental flexibility with mental well-being, loneliness, headaches, and sleep disturbances.

We not only need good humor, but we also need grace. Whether the cancellation is April Fools’ Day or a noxious behavior, we need grace to forgive whatever offenses keep us from moving ahead. In the LA Times, Michael Roth explains that this is both difficult and important amid our present cancel culture. Words with a complex origin story capture the importance of forgiving:

“Resentment is like drinking a poison and then waiting for the other person to die.”

Let’s stop drinking the poison.

Click here and here for more on April Fools’ Day for 2021. For more on forgiveness and grace, click here and here. Finally, you can find the research on humor and health here.

Ovid in Exile, painting by Ion Theodorescu-Sion / WikiArt

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April 1, 2021

One Response to “Canceling the Cancellation of April Fools’ Day”

  1. April 01, 2021 at 8:49 am, Allen Browne said:

    ?NO foolin’?