For years I did the same April Fool’s joke: I would wrap a rubber band around the kitchen sink sprayer so whoever first turned on the faucet would get soaked. As many years I did it somehow it was still a shock for whoever it was who got wet. It was funny for me…Not so much for Susan or the kids who would have to run back upstairs to change their clothes. There were other April Fool’s jokes along the way but that one seemed to work the best.
There are different accounts as to the origin of April Fool’s Day but no one seems to take precedence. It is, however, particular to Europe and North America and not celebrated worldwide. The rest of the world, apparently, see us as fools.
It can be fun to pull a prank. Growing up my brother Michael was constantly pulling pranks on the rest of the family. He didn’t need April 1st to do so. Michael still enjoys joking around and gets great joy out of seeing people get embarrassed, frustrated or tricked in one way or another. He usually laughs very hard at their expense. Of course, it is all in good fun and his “victims” laugh as much as he does. That is why I like to pull one over on him when I get a chance. A few months ago I saw a perfect opportunity. He was over our house and as usual he takes his sneakers off and leaves them on the shoe rack by the front door. I noticed they were there and also realized we had the exact same sneakers. Except he is two sizes larger than I am. However you can’t tell right away there is a difference in size and if you are not thinking about it you would never notice. So I switched our sneakers and prepared to film him when he was ready to go home. I called Susan over and we watched as he sat on the steps, reached for what he thought was his sneaker, then proceeded to try to squeeze his large foot into my much smaller running shoe. He was getting increasingly frustrated and couldn’t figure out why his foot was not fitting into his sneaker. He didn’t know we were watching and finally I just started howling with laughter and he realized he had been had.
The person making a fool of another person is the one who does most of he laughing. Many times the one who is on the other end of the prank doesn’t laugh so hard. My father could give it but he couldn’t take it. He didn’t like to be made fun of or be laughed at. He couldn’t even laugh at himself. My mother, on the other hand, laughs at herself quite easily. We called her “Lucy” when we were growing up. I remember several years ago conservative talk show host Sean Hannity pulled an April Fool’s joke. He started his radio show by saying that he had decided to switch his political party and was turning his back on the Republicans and declaring to become a Democrat. For ten minutes he ranted about how he felt let down and betrayed by the Republicans and would now be 100% behind the Democrats. Our friend Pat took the bait hook, line and sinker. He was totally fooled. Pat called me in a panic. He couldn’t believe Sean would do such a thing. I was a little confused at first but then realized that it was April 1st. Obviously, Sean Hannity was joking. I told Pat that he could relax, the conservative world was all in one piece. But Pat couldn’t’ believe it. He couldn’t believe that Mr. Fox News would joke around about something so serious. Pat felt like he had been made a fool of. Not directly, of course, but as a faithful member of Sean’s listening audience. Pat thought it was done in such bad taste. As a result, Pat never listened to Sean again. He totally disavowed himself of his allegiance to Sean Hannity. More than anything Pat felt foolish for believing him.
Nobody likes to be made the fool. Although jokes are mainly done good naturedly and without malice there are times people could feel very embarrassed or self conscious. There are times that the intent of the jokester is to embarrass and humiliate the other person. To make them look and feel foolish.
The Apostle Paul says that following Christ can come at a price. We can be made to look foolish in the eyes of the world as well in the eyes of other believers. To those who are outside the faith we appear to be senseless, blindly and foolishly following Jesus and living out our values. People cannot fathom that we tithe our money, that we return love for hatred, that we offer forgiveness, seek out justice and strive to live according to Scriptural values. They laugh that we read and follow the Bible, pray to a God that we cannot see and mock our morality.
9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world-right up to this moment. (I Corinthians 4:9 – 13).
At times I may be an easy target for a practical joke. I may be seen to be a fool for many things, for mistakes I have made, decisions that have gone wrong and stances I have taken. But if I am a fool for Christ I will be a proud fool. I will be honored to be a fool for Him. If I get to be thought a fool for following Jesus I think that I will be doing something right.
What do you think?
How does this make you feel?