Gary Strachan – "Write" Said Fred

Off The Wall Essays From Deep Within A Capricious Mind

April Fool’s Gold

It’s April Fools Day. Consequently, we’ll have a day littered with inane pranks, silly stories and tiresome practical jokes…… In other words it’s business as usual dans maison de Strachan.

I find some practical jokes quite funny, such as the prank an acquaintance plans involving the filling of hollow Easter egg gifts with toothpaste…….. Unless one of them is mine, in which case I’ll be bloody furious!

To be honest, though, I’m not much of a fan of the ill thought out and lazy pranks – These the words of whimsy which clearly aren’t true; jests which have no chance of fooling the attempted victim. For instance, a misguided wag exclaiming “Come here quick, Gary!… An ostrich has just run off with your mobile phone!”…… An incident that obviously won’t happen, rendering it a lazy and lame prank.

Incidentally, it’s the practical joke that’s lazy and lame, not the ostrich after injuring itself during the escape with my mobile……. The ostrich doesn’t exist remember!

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April Fools’ Day (sometimes called All Fools’ Day), dubbed the most light-hearted day of the year, has uncertain origins. The only thing historians can conclude with any certainty is the celebration of mirth didn’t start as the result of an ostrich stealing a mobile phone.

There is a school of thought that the day celebrates the changing from winter to spring and less inclement weather.

Legend has it that in the early 19th century the 1st April used to be called ‘Thank F*** it’s Not As Parky Outside Day’. A title changed later in the century after German puritans deemed it too wordy and the use of the ‘f’ word inappropriate.

That being said, it’s debatable whether this tale of folklore bears any truth in fact…… Actually, that’s not true – With recently fictionalising this nonsense myself I can proffer with surety the above paragraph bears not one jot of truth.

Yesterday, in a dry run of relaying my own inane April Fools pranks, I advised my wife Karen the pages on the Jamie Oliver Italian menu book she was reading were produced from recycled lasagne sheets. Unsurprisingly, she was having none of it, although she did remain open-minded about my further ludicrous lie the braille version contained recycled penne.

It seems to me that April Fool’s Day holds a higher profile in contemporary times; with a seemingly greater requirement for undertaking whimsical pranks. A matter of fact which many would argue is natural in the social media frenzy of the 21st century.

During my childhood in 1970’s Gateshead, I don’t recall people being so keen spending 1st April with ill-thought out fibs like “Come quickly, Gary!….. Your Spangles*** are on fire!”, or “Blimey, Audy Kennedy has just seen Spiderman in Bert’s Pie Shop on Low Fell….. She says he told Bert he’s allergic to kidney, so asked for a mince-pie instead of steak & kidney.

*** – That isn’t a euphemism!…. Although, as Spangles weren’t flammable, I’ll admit they weren’t a great example for use within the prose. 

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I’ve vague recollections of being told as a child that you can only pull a prank up until midday on April Fools Day. I’m unsure if that still holds true as it’s just gone 12.09pm and I’ve just read a post on Twitter intimating Granada TV studios have just located presenter Richard Madeley’s sincerity in a box under Emily Bishop’s staircase cupboard****.

**** – Also not a euphemism!!

I’m told that fool’s gold is iron pyrite, which is said to resemble real gold but has a fraction of its value (hence the disparaging name). I like to think of the 1st April pranks which don’t quite have their intended comedic effect as April Fool’s gold.

Actually, I need to dash – A bloody ostrich has just run off with my mobile phone!

Categories: Blogs, fiction, humour, memories, parody

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