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In Our Own Backyard...There's no fool like an old fool

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Columns Cloquet,Minnesota 55720 http://www.pinejournal.com/sites/all/themes/pinejournal_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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In Our Own Backyard...There's no fool like an old fool
Cloquet Minnesota 122 Avenue C 55720

Well, another April Fool’s Day has come and gone. Yeah....

It’s funny, but April Fool’s Day never really meant too much to me. I guess I’m not all that clever, or maybe more accurately, I’m not very good at pulling off a joke. But to my husband, it’s something he builds up to for days because he and daughter Kara have had an annual ritual of trying to “pull one off” on each other ever since she was a little girl. As you can well imagine, after a few years of that sort of thing, you begin to expect it so it gets all that much harder. The only thing you can really hope for is that the other person has forgotten that it’s the first of April and catch them by surprise!

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Once, when Kara was little, Ken pulled the old switcheroo and put salt in the sugar bowl. When she sat down to eat breakfast, she put salt on her cereal. The following year, she got him back by smearing toothpaste in the sleeves of his jacket. “Not funny…” he responded glumly.

Over the years, some things have worked better than others. One year Kara emailed and announced she was pregnant. I shrieked and Ken stopped breathing — until we realized it was April 1!

Another year, I think Ken really had her going for a while when he sent her an email (it’s just too difficult to pull off a joke convincingly over the telephone!) saying he’d lost his job and that he and I were going to have to move in with her and her husband since we could no longer afford the house.

And so it’s gone on, year in and year out. This year Ken decided it was just too hard to try to come up with something original enough to fool Kara anymore so he was going to try it on her kids instead. Being the solicitous grandmother that I am, I worried about whether the two of them, ages 8 and 10, would understand the nature of the joke or instead think we were telling them a fib. I worried about whether they’d believe whatever it was and feel betrayed when they found out it wasn’t true. I worried about whether kids nowadays even know what April Fool’s Day is any longer.

And so, I did what most people do these days and went to the Internet. There, I discovered that April Fool’s Day is not only alive and well among today’s generation, but it’s actually thriving, due in large part to the Internet.

Reportedly, a whole range of companies — many of them technology-related — rolled out their own versions of April Fool’s Day jokes this year.

Google+ announced it had updated its service with a neat little feature that automatically adds a mug shot of “Baywatch” actor David Hasselhoff to photos that users upload onto their social network.

“To get your own photo bomb, upload a new self portrait or group photo with friends, and leave a little room for The Hoff,” Google said in a spoof on its blog. “He might just make a surprise appearance. :-)”

In another April Fool’s Day spoof, Twitter announced the “Twitter Helmet,” a wearable device that allows users to tweet by performing a “pecking” motion with their heads.

I am somewhat ashamed to say the media are among the top “offenders” when it comes to spreading April Fool’s Day “humor” in print. I guess back in 1957, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) posted a fake film of Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti. The BBC was later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a prank on the news the next day!

This year, I learned the British media is still in top form when it comes to spreading chaos on April Fool’s Day. One of the top tabloids announced that Queen Elizabeth had decided to do her share in bolstering the royal budget by allowing fracking on the grounds of the palace. Another alerted readers that an International Peacekeeping Force had been sent in to defend the borders of Scotland. Yet another revealed that a British farmer had developed a six-legged lamb to boost profits and food yields.

Oh my.

I was still debating the wisdom of playing an April Fool’s Day joke on our unsuspecting young grandchildren when my husband copied me on an email he’d sent to Kara midway through the day.

“Hi Kara,

Tell Ethan and Evie that Joe Mauer will be coming for dinner at our house this weekend!!! I just happened have met a close friend of his and he arranged it. The kids will really be excited to meet him. Bring items for autographs! Can you believe it!!!

Love, DAD”

It didn’t take Kara long to fire back. She said both the kids AND her husband had bought it hook, line and sinker, and they were getting so excited she had to go ahead and tell them “April Fool’s!” — before Grandpa ever got the chance.

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Wendy Johnson
(218) 879-1950
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