April Fooled? No Joke.

There IS a serious point to this post, right at the end.

On April 1st 1957 Panorama, a respected current affairs program on the BBC, buckled and broadcast a hoax news item. I remember watching it, tracking the news from Switzerland where a bumper harvest of spaghetti had surprised everybody. Something in me believed. For a short while. And then there was the Guardian in 1977 publishing an elaborate pull-out supplement reviewing San Serriffe, a fictitious  island in the Indian Ocean

There is history to the tradition of April Fools day. There back in the shadows of time in France for example.

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

Tracking time and day accurately is a significant marker of mental health, as I understand. We all lose track and laugh it off. And we join in the joke, laugh in sympathetic understanding. But for some this is no joke. The other day I was cruising along the fruit and veg section in the local supermarket. A chap came up to me asking with urgency, ‘do you know where the avocado stuffed prawns are?’ No not a hoax. Immediately I ran with it. ‘Ah the fish counter is over here’ and then in a heart-beat I guided him to the avocados. I’m pleased to say this event passed with not a joke or nervous comment. It could have gone another way.

That encounter stayed with me though. Losing ones grasp mentally, temporarily or progressively, is not a joke. Remember well. Simple sympathy and kindness for friends, relatives and strangers is the order of the day. We can all be April Fooled any time.  Any day of the year.

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3 thoughts on “April Fooled? No Joke.”

  1. I spent eleven years of my nursing career at the Moor Hospital in Lancaster looking after elderly and often dementing patients. Some the result of strokes and others of the Alzeimer’s type. Much of the time was spent trying to help them keep a grip on reality. Definitely no joke.
    Thank you for this posting.
    __:/\__
    Norman

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