It’s officially springtime in the Northern Hemisphere, and pranksters nationwide are planning their elaborate or not-so-thought-out jokes for April 1st. Are we just impatient for Easter/Passover toward the end of the month, or are we looking for an excuse to be mercilessly rude to our friends and family? And just we because we can, does that mean we should?

Is this a hot take?

Personally, I don’t partake in these so-called festivities, and I would hesitate to even send a message containing any false, scary, or hurtful information. As far as lines go, the finest may be the one between practical jokes and unintentional emotional damage. Even with the “knowing” that it’s a fun holiday, is there any way we can do better? Even with the “perfect” execution, can we still be mindful of other people’s boundaries? Here are a couple thought points, if we must keep this day around.

Photo by Cristiano Firmani

Deceit is harmful to our relationships.

I’ll just get this out of the way now: Please, do not ever, under any circumstances, joke about life or death matters. This includes, but is not limited to, pregnancy and illness. Yeah, that means no sonograms, no Facebook announcements, and no declaring the death of any person, celebrities included. People around the world are diagnosed with life-altering conditions every day, and they are not at all funny. The same goes for divorce or breakups. Think about how much you can hurt someone with your words, and then rethink that “hilarious joke.”

We can pull light-hearted jokes on any other day of the year.

Most of the time, if I’m going on a long road trip, I’ll pretend I forgot something mildly important at home, and we have a good laugh. Or when arriving to a concert venue, I’ll say, “You have the tickets, right?” (These were both my dad’s go-to jokes, I’ve just adopted them…) And this is, in my opinion, the kind of humor we should foster in the future generations!

Kids should be taught about respect.

Maybe I have it all wrong, and adults aren’t even doing this. But if we go ahead and justify this day as a “children’s” holiday, our youth will learn that this behavior is okay all the way up to their 18th birthday. Classrooms across the US are already having serious behavioral problems. Kids are also exposed to so much hate on the internet, and we have a responsibility to help them grow into kinder adults. In their impressionable minds, hurting people is encouraged and celebrated when we keep these traditions alive.

Photo by Gavin Allanwood

To wrap this all up, people are generally over it. Our society has the potential to improve where a healthy sense of humor is a given, and genuine funniness is a pleasant and daily occurrence, rather than posting a fake tragedy once a year. It’s funny because I haven’t really been affected by April Fools before. In my experience, pranks were limited to a plastic roach under my dad’s pillow, but I know that some things are not worth joking about. Let’s take some significance off this day and stick with “April showers bring May flowers.”

Madeline Goldman

Madeline Goldman

Portland, Oregon / Music / Arts / Humanities

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