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April Fool’s Day

The first day of April of each year is “April Fools’ Day.” With origins in the Middle Ages, and originally called “All Fools’ Day,” the day calls for playing good-natured tricks on family and friends, or, in the case of much of the media, on the public in general.

As a prime example, National Public Radio network broadcast in 2008 that the Internal Revenue Service was sending tax refund amounts in the form of consumer goods rather than checks, to make sure the money would create the intended economic stimulus. The travel website Expedia offered trips to Mars on April 1, 2009. Most responsible “pranksters” of this nature usually confess quickly after the event, since many people forget the April Fools’ concept.

Be prepared to be the victim of an April Fools’ Day trick or hoax. If the joke is person-to-person, and you are the victim, the perpetrator may playfully shout “April Fool.” If not, the other person may be waiting for you to suggest the possibility. On the other hand, it may not be wise for you to play an April Fools’ joke on another person until you have some experience with American sensibilities and know what you are doing.

Of course, the odd news may in fact turn out to be true. On April 1, 2009, the CBS television network announced it was cancelling the daytime drama Guiding Light, but few people took the news seriously, since the “soap opera” had been running continuously on radio and television for 72 years. True to their word, the network discontinued the show later that year.

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