Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools’ Day

The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.
 ---Will Rogers

April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, supposedly originating as early as 1392 when, as some scholars believe, references to April 1 as a day of foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Today it continues as a day on which hoaxes and pranks are played on the unsuspecting in households, businesses and nearly all areas of life. 

Over the years in our household, on April 1 our boys always made sure the sugar in the sugar bowl used by their father for his morning coffee had been replaced with salt. The kids never forgot, and their father always forgot until that first shocking sip of java.

In addition to pranks taking place in everyday households and on school yards between parents and their children, teachers and their pupils, and siblings and friends, even major corporations, magazines, newspapers, and other businesses pull April Fools pranks on the general public. For instance, a radio station once reported that English Poet William Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage had been sold to an American and was being shipped to Arizona brick by brick.

More recently, in 2011, as a way to encourage recycling, and to add flavor to its stories, the UK Metro Herald announced plans to issue the newspaper in edible form.

The newspaper explained: The printing process sees ingredients such as corn starch, vegetable oil, gum arabic, water and citric acid cooked into a stodgy paste and thin sheets. The paste is poured on to the sheets under silk meshes arranged in the form of headlines, pictures and articles. Printing takes a few hours overnight – several seconds to print each page and slightly longer to dry. The finished products are even given a light vanilla scent.

Also in 2011, Google pulled an April Fools prank on the public when they debuted a new feature — Gmail Motion — designed to allow people to eliminate the use of keyboards and mice and instead write emails using only gestures, which Gmail would track using your computer webcam and a "spatial tracking algorithm."

Command gestures were simple. To open a message, make a motion with your hands as if you're opening an envelope. To reply, point backward over your shoulder with your thumb. To reply all, point backward with both thumbs. And so on.

Every year countless pranks are played on unsuspecting victims. So be wary of crazy-sounding headlines, have fun, and make sure you check your sugar bowl before spooning its contents into your coffee.

April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded 
of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.
---Mark Twain

1 comment:

Patent Box solicitor said...

Happy April Fool's Day! That Will Rogers quote is hilarious. The sugar / salt switch is a classic :D

I love April 1st as an excuse for people and companies to step away from the norm, to develop their creativity, and to have a bit of non-corporate fun.