My favorite joke of April Fool’s Day occurred when a friend changed his birthday on Facebook to April 1 and his news feed filled up with sentiments that should have occurred in July. People eventually caught on and everyone watching had a good laugh.
After all, a good laugh is good for us; it’s even medicinal at times.
Some people seem to laugh very easily, my husband for example. He looks for funny things, cracks up, and then he shows them to me hoping I’ll give the same response. Sometimes I chuckle and other times I roll my eyes (to be honest). Let’s just say we complement one another. His love of laughter is something I love about him.
The love of comedy is the same reason April Fool’s Day exists. In a world full of pain, sometimes we need a silly, funny stunt. We need a reason to smile.
Butt of the Jokes
Most of us can probably share a story about April Fool’s Day where either we pulled off the perfect prank, or someone got us really good. I’ve got my fair share, however I am usually on the receiving end. Except for the one year my co-worker and I made up a fake employee. That’s another story for a different blog.
I’m not that old, but because Facebook wasn’t around when I attended high school, I feel like I can say this: things have changed a lot over the past decade, especially when it comes to April 1.
We used to pull pranks on people we knew, in ways we knew they could handle. We joked with people we saw on a daily basis and our jokes fit the occasion.
Now, thanks to social media, things are different. We’re still pulling pranks on a day dedicated to humor, but due to the impersonal, online environment, sometimes we run into very unintended situations with surprising responses when we choose to post jokes online.
We post we’re pregnant to tease our closest friends and end up offending those silently suffering from infertility and miscarriage. We announce that we’re sick, not thinking about those who wish their diagnosis was only a joke. We share about a false life change in pure jest – marriage, divorce, moving, job change and more. Little do we know, and even littler do we intend, we trigger someone’s return to mourning and grief with our fake news.
Why? For the same reason we’ve always told jokes on April Fool’s Day: To get a laugh.
Humor and Grace
As an infertile woman, I won’t lie: I don’t find pretend pregnancy announcements funny. Same goes for any joke about a faked sickness, divorce or other traumatic loss. These jokes hit too close to home and don’t make me laugh.
But, these days, they also don’t make me cry.
What do I do when the joke’s not funny? I remind myself of these two things:
One – humor works a lot like style and taste.
I love wearing big earrings and eating smores (not necessarily at the same time). Many people do not share my opinions. But, we all thrive when we have clothes and food. The same goes with humor. Comedy is a good thing, it’s healthy for us to laugh – even if it’s at different things*.
Two – I can’t be quick to judge if I don’t want to be judged.
We’re all human. We’re all imperfect. We’re going to get it wrong sometimes. If we get our feelings hurt, we need to share why. Unless we speak our truth, others won’t know our perspective. On the flip side, if our jokes offend, we must quickly say sorry. We need to treat others the way we’d want to be treated. Even when we’re online.
We all can’t be pranksters, but we can avoid being fools. It begins with grace and often ends with a smile.
*Note: If we’re laughing at someone, it’s to their expense, and they’re not laughing with us – it’s not comedy but rather bullying. This is never OK, it’s always offensive, and should not be tolerated – even on April Fool’s Day.