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No Foolin’

April 1, 2003

I hate pranks. Today, April Fool’s Day, my normal background level of anxiety is turned up a few notches. Even if I don’t get caught by mischief makers, I know they’re out there and this is their special day. I know I need to be prepared for websites spoofing the look of other websites and journal entries written tongue in cheek. This is not a good day to visit sites I don’t already know well, because they might not be showing their true faces, and sorting it out is not how I want to spend my time and energy.

I am not a good sport about being jerked around. I don’t find it entertaining to watch it being done to other people, either. Shows like Candid Camera and Crank Yankers make me feel a little sick. There’s more than enough in the world that’s harsh without having people be intentionally unkind to each other. Saying it’s done in the name of fun, dismissing dishonesty with “hey, it was a just a joke, lighten up”, doesn’t fly with me. There are a lot of other ways to have fun, ones that don’t make people feel stupid, disappointed, or taken for a ride.

Flipping through the television channels recently, I caught a little bit of a show on MTV (Punk’d, I later learned) where some guys wearing official-looking government agent jackets were taking boxes of stuff out of Justin Timberlake’s house while he was on the phone to his mom, anxiety in his voice as he pleaded with her to come quickly to help him with the situation. Even though I instinctively knew it was a prank, I still felt bad for him. He doesn’t deserve to be yanked any more than a non-celebrity.

I want to trust. I want to believe that most people are good. Pranks erode these hopes of mine. Is there such a thing as a harmless prank? One that everyone is in on? I can’t think of any, but maybe I’m just too wound up keeping an eye out for people who want to screw with my head today to see the other side.

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