Thursday, April 01, 2004

Fool Me Once
I have utterly no use for April Fool's Day. It started the year my mother playfully switched the corn flakes and the Fruit Loops in their boxes at breakfast, and a powerful distaste for it has stayed with me for life. People who know me well know two things--do not throw me a surprise party, ever, and do not try to prank me on April Fool's Day.

Like Mom's prank so many years ago, 99 percent of the pranks pulled on this day simply aren't funny. The only truly funny prank I can think of at the moment was pulled by the morning crew on a radio station I used to work at. They did their show as usual, with one exception--the only song they played all morning was "Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis. They announced different titles, of course, as if they were playing normal music on a normal day, but it was always "Viva Las Vegas." The show was punctuated by ever-more-fulminating listener phone calls, as the hosts blithely refused to admit that they understood what the callers were talking about. But pranks like that are the rare exception. Nowadays, April Fool's pranks are often just cruel rather than funny--two very different things we tend to confuse.

It may be that the day arrived 24 hours early yesterday, when news surfaced that papers purportedly used for briefing Donald Rumsfeld before a talk-show appearance had been found in a Washington Starbucks. After reading the copies posted at the Center for American Progress (and CAP's suggested answers to some of the hypothetical questions in the papers), I am not completely convinced the whole thing isn't a prank.

Note: As I am hitting the road again over the next several days, posts will be light to nonexistent here from now until Monday night or Tuesday. In my absence, you might explore the Memory Blog. Here's a little taste: We've heard in the last 24 hours about the Americans killed in Fallujah whose bodies were burned and dragged through the streets. They were described in the first media reports as "soldiers," but they were in fact private employees working for an American contractor. And these people were probably not, as many of us sometimes imagine private military employees, working in kitchens or fixing jeeps. Memory Blogger Russ Kick calls them "mercenaries: ex-military soldiers of fortune who operate outside the rules of combat." Just another way we're teaching the world to love us.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?