By: Ellen Lee
It’s 11:59 on March 31. Whether you’re a master of pranks, a passive bystander or an unlucky victim, you know that you’re a minute away from National Have-A-Free-Pass-To-Be-Obnoxious Day, more commonly known as April Fools’ Day.
In my long, bountiful life of sixteen years and four months, I have witnessed a painful line of unsuccessful pranks, with a few, occasional knee-slappers here and there; but the worst prank I’ve ever come across, took place in the fifth grade.
It was an awful prank, one that really made me question human nature. On this deplorable day, my best friend’s parents decided that it would be hilarious to fake a divorce. Obviously, they didn’t get a positive reaction, as the act of a family breaking up isn’t the most humorous occurrence.
On April 1, my friend came late to school with teary, bloodshot eyes, and told me in a shaky voice that her parents told her they were getting a divorce earlier that morning before school. After half an hour of being heartbroken and shocked, her parents told her that it was all a joke.
Naturally, she suspected that they were kidding around, but the joke still traumatized the poor ten-year-old. I might be completely out of date, but jokes are usually meant to be funny, not traumatizing or awkward. Not surprisingly, there was no chuckling in their household that morning.
Although this incident may be more extreme and dramatic than most, there is a blatantly clear reason why April Fools’ pranks always fail. Everyone expects the unexpected on April Fools’, because it is the one day of the year that you have a good excuse to try something stupid.
An underlying rule that no one seems to understand is that pranks and jokes should always result in laughter and perhaps a hint of resentment. The combination of poor humor and the victim’s expectancy work hand-in-hand to concoct a failed day, almost so disastrous that the failure itself is funny.
Maybe the humor in April Fools’ comes from the extraneous efforts and drastic measures people take to trick each other as well as the various blunders that follow, and not the pranks themselves.