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Have you been fooled or pranked someone else?

Staff Report • Apr 1, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Today’s question applies specifically to this date on the calendar. Have you ever been made a fool of on April 1?

A Google search of April Fool’s Day finds the origins of this holiday to be shrouded in mystery. One explanation is that the custom of ridicule evolved over many centuries and through many different cultures. The April 1 date is believed by some to be linked to the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, others think it has something to do with the celebration of spring.

Regardless of how it came about, April Fool’s Day has become a date for mischief and merriment.

April Fool’s jokes range from the silly to the complicated. Some governments use this date as a way of communicating a specific message. Last April 1, the city of Philadelphia taped off an “e-lane” on a sidewalk in front of a busy downtown building. The idea was to call attention to the safety problems caused by distracted pedestrians who are too engrossed in their tablets or smartphones to see where they are going

Unfortunately, city officials said, most didn’t get that it was a joke.

“The sad part is we had people who, once they realized we were going to take the e-lane away, got mad because they thought it was really helpful to not have people get in their way while they were walking and texting,” one Philadelphia administrator told The Associated Press last year.

Many years ago, an official in Johnson City’s planning department sent out a news release detailing plans for a proposed subway system in the city. Several news broadcasters went with the story before they realized it was an April Fool’s joke. Needless to say, those reporters (and their news directors) did not think the prank was very funny.

Have you ever been made the butt of an April Fool’s joke? Have you ever participated in an April Fool’s prank? If the answer to one or both of those questions is “yes,” then we want to hear from you.

Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com.

Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification purposes. We will print responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.

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