The origins of today are unclear are not definite. It may be from the change of New Years from March 25th to January 1, or it could come from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales from 1392. Perhaps it comes from a poem in 1686. Whatever the case the damage was done and now we have to survive the day.
Pranks will run amok today and certain media outlets will try to be the best one. Every New York Met fan remembers Sports Illustrated's Sidd Finch prank of 1985. The story went that Mr. Finch trained at a Tibet monastery and had a fastball of 160+ mph. Mets fans that read the story could not wait for opening day, but their enthusiasm was replaced by anger towards the magazine for getting their hopes up.
I take things literally and believe that if a news outlet reports something it should be true. Many times there will actually be a real story that break on this 'Foolish' day and people won't believe it. I had a friend call me in 1993 to inform me that Alan Kulwicki, my favorite driver in NASCAR at the time, had died in a plane crash outside Bristol, TN. I didn't believe him as I had been fooled many times the year prior, but it was true.
Many people died on the Aleutian islands in 1946 because the tsunami warnings issued were taken as a prank.
And a school almost burned to the ground in the Danish town of of Albertsund because the firefighters thought the calls were a prank.
A small prank is fine in my books and I am guilty of pulling many a one on my mom. Those have no impact on society though. With the media the way it is now, and the ability for anything to go viral, any and all news will hardly be believed today. The risk for something bad to happen is too great. This may sound overtly simple, but today everyone is the boy who cried wolf.
I never thought of the ramifications of today before I got a text message this morning suggesting I do my entry today regarding April Fools. I heard of Sidd Finch a couple of years ago, and I remember the story from 1998 that had Alabama changing the value of pi, but never thought of what could come from these stories.
To prevent embarrassment I will not believe anything today. I'm probably not the only one who will do this today. For those of us that have either a yes/no, on/off system this is dangerous. Should something happen, should there be a crisis, or should evacuation need to happen there will be hesitation. A lot of pranks done by the media are done in good fun, but the side effects could have disastrous results.
For the amount of fun that a few people will have, is it worth the risk? Maybe for a few of you out there it is, but for me I will remain close minded and will not believe a word you say if it's anything out of the ordinary. Today is not fun, not productive, and can only lead to anger and confusion. So then why do so many people look forward to this day? I just don't get it.