Tuesday, April 01, 2014

One April Fools' Prank That Never Gets Old (Because It Was Never Funny in the First Place)

We try to keep April Fools' Day on the down-low in our household, since we have at least one very enthusiastic prankster who doesn't need any additional encouragement.

But today I was recalling how the French like to celebrate April Fools' Day by taping fish to people's backs (pictures of fish, not actual fish).

Then I panicked for a moment and wondered if the French actually do this or if it was just a weird custom in our family. Thankfully, the Internet quickly confirmed that it is indeed a thing.

From Wikipedia: "In Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, April 1 tradition is often known as 'April fish' (poisson d'avril in French or pesce d'aprile in Italian). This includes attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim's back without being noticed."

We frequently attempted this as kids, though I'm not aware of us ever pulling off the "without being noticed" part.

The French are often criticized for having no sense of humor (they do like Jerry Lewis), and I fear this tradition probably doesn't really help with that reputation. Even the hackneyed "kick me" sign is a slight improvement over fish, in that it might lead to comedic violence.

But in this era of April Fools' fatigue, there's something refreshing about a simple prank that isn't funny and never was.