Every Day is April Fool’s Day – for some

This Blog first appeared on April 1 – April Fool’s day. So in keeping with the theme, I thought I’d inform and entertain. How did April Fool’s Day first get started? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let me enlighten.

No one knows for sure, but it has been celebrated for the last few hundred years, across cultures and countries. Some speculate it started in 1582 when France switched calendars. Folks who didn’t keep up with the news and missed January 1 as the start of the new year, continued to celebrate on April 1, thus becoming a source of amusement and the butt of jokes.

Here are some more pranks that many fell for.

In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled.

In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.

In 1996, Taco Bell duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell.

In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of customers requested the fake sandwich.

This was all in good fun, and aside from pride, nobody got hurt or had any lasting issues. However, some people never take a holiday and use cleverly disguised stories throughout the year to separate you from your money or the private details of your life. More than your pride can get hurt. You can lose thousands of dollars directly or through theft of your identity details.

Few of us are smart enough 100% of the time never to get involved in a scam. Eventually, you will most likely get fooled, but you can reduce your risk. As an older adult or senior, we have both the advantage of life lessons, maturity and the confidence to be skeptical more often.

Measure Twice, Cut Once is the woodworker’s motto. In this day and age, ours should be Think Twice, Act Once. Take time to think through the situation. If it seems different, if it’s new, you probably have time to check it out with somebody else. We can get a second opinion for major life decisions, and we should undoubtedly allow ourselves a second opinion when thousands of dollars are at stake. My motto, “Feel Rushed, Slow Down.”

The folks at history.com provided the background details.

My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.

Glenn Walmsley