I was born a short time after April 1st because my mother said she didn’t want an April fool. Too bad because I am one–or at least try to be most of the time. Foolishness is the beginning of wisdom, when we understand how little we really know about ourselves and the world. Learning how to laugh at ourselves is the mark of maturity. One has finally figured out the world does not begin and end with himself or herself.
A little silliness is good for the soul creating a sense of proportion and humility. “The reason angels can fly,” wrote G.K, Chesterton, “is that they take themselves so lightly.” It’s not easy having enough self security to let go of ego and sense life steadily and whole. Humor gives us that distance even to see ourselves for who and what we are.
My family and friends are especially cautious around me on April 1st because they know I plan ways to catch them off guard, so it is practically impossible to do so, even though some years I start the process a few days before the first of April–but even this does not seem to work any longer. So, the best I can do is offer you a few suggestions for you to play the fool April 1st, hoping you will laugh at yourself as others laugh at you. Here are some suggested activities to try on this high and holy day:
1. Stand on a busy street corner and point upward. But don’t tell people why. You may find a crowd gathered to loo skyward. Then just walk away quietly.
2. Put your shirt on backwards.
3. When you approach a stranger walking toward you, point to his or her shoes and say: “Your shoe’s on backwards.”
4. Skip into your office.
5. Laugh at an inappropriate moment when someone is talking.
6. Paint a funny face on your hand and use that to talk to others.
7. Stretch your arms out wide and pretend you are an airplane.