I am declaring April 1 National Stay Off the Internet Day. I know that I recently railed against all of the awareness days we have, but April 1 is the worst day to read anything on the Internet. It’s bad for readers because you never know if what you are reading is true1. But it is bad for writers because what we write might not be taken seriously.
For example, I had a post scheduled for today called, “Where Are All the Bad Books?” You can read the post tomorrow because I thought that if I’d posted it today, people might think I was joking.
It turns out that a lot of things reported on April 1 is legitimate, but everything thinks it is fake because it is April Fools’ Day. PR firms will avoid making announcements today because it is April Fools Day. Important announcement that, on any other day of the year would have been made at once, will be delayed a day to avoid people thinking it is fake.
Part of the problem is that April Fools’ Day has evolved into something elaborate. When I was a kid, it was much simpler. I don’t remember when I first learned about April Fools’ Day, but I recall some of my early forays into the April Fools’ Day jokes:
- Arriving home from school: “Mom, Dad! Guess what? I got an A on my spelling test?” Really? Mom and Dad said together, knowing how bad I am at spelling? “April Fools!2” I should, and gleefully hold up the test with a 14/20 on it.
Flipping through the sports pages, circa 1986: “Huh? Dad, did you see that the Mets released Gary Carter?”
Turning all of the clocks in the house ahead one hour in the middle of the night, and watch chaos ensue the next day3.
Now, no attempt is made it hint that something is an April Fools’ joke. Instead, jokesters aim for the opposite: to get people to believe that something is real, rather than to nod and wink, and say boy, I really could have fooled you there!
So, thanks to April Fools’ Day, you will have to wait until tomorrow for me to ponder the question, “Where are all the bad books?” Because I am having trouble locating them, and I want you to take me seriously about it.