Ah, April Fool's Day. A day suggesting, among other things, that it's April 1, and it's not moving anytime soon. That while today there may be showers, they do in fact make way for May flowers. A day solidly planted between the Ides of March and Tax Day, neither of which Julius Caesar was crazy too about (this, of course, predated the arrival of TurboTax, forcing the Romans to send out their taxes to a Jewish tax company and causing plenty of headaches I don't have to tell you about!). But even in 44 BCE, those wacky Romans were known to ham it up on April 1, exulting in a day we've come to call, "the mother of all practical jokes."
We live in uncertain times; that much I'm sure of. But one thing we need more than ever, besides an uptick in reality shows playing around with word combinations of "mascara" and "meltdown," is a tickle of our collective funny bone. This nation's strength has been tested; the recent release of A Thousand Words alone is enough shake our mettle. New Yorkers have been challenged again, though, this time by one of their own. How apropos that Big Brother himself, Surgeon General Bloomberg emerges again, only this time to strip New Yorkers of their very right to tomfoolery, to good old-fashioned ballyhoo.
Stepping up security measures to counter any "ill-willed practical jokers around the city," the mayor makes no apologies for his actions, including canceling the April Fool's Day parade along Fifth Avenue. In a surprise press conference held yesterday, the mayor gleefully said, "I've taken our finest men and women out of counter-terrorism training, pulled them from patrolling the major arteries, and yanked them away from guarding Snooki on a downtown jaunt, where I'm told police had to peel fans off her organic tanning bed yesterday in an effort to stop over-exuberant pranksters on this silly holiday that's lasted too long." A crude humping dog set loose into the aisle barking, "Bloomberg sucks!" did not soften the stern mayor. Undeterred, he continued, "My job is to create a safe environment for all New Yorkers, and it's clear this day brings out the worst in people."
It's a day novelty store salesmen dream about all year long, but today meet with anxiety. Bernie Grossman, owner of Prank Palace, boasts the largest farting pranks and gags section in the northeast. "April Fool's Day sales accounts for 83% of my annual business," laments Grossman, who mistakenly wipes away his tears with his best-seller, "revenge toilet paper" and just blubbers some more. "This was one of our biggest sellers last year."
Having worked tirelessly in the past few months to stock enough fake puke and remote control fart machines for his normal April Fool's Day business, yesterday's message from the mayor came as a huge blow. "This is my Christmas. We were expecting huge things from the jell-o toilet this year. They've been selling huge in Europe, and I was hoping for that kind of success here in the states." Asked what products sell the best, Grossman winces, "When it comes to first timers, most people like to play safe with our wide range of farting products, and I'll tell you what I tell them -- you can't go wrong." But Grossman may not get that opportunity to help shape some New Yorkers' first April Fool's Day experiences.
So why is Mayor Bloomberg taking a page from Scrooge's handbook on this very special day to New Yorkers? A New York Times report recently shed light on an April Fool's Day Mayor Bloomberg preferred were left buried in the past. The details are scant, but a third grade classmate of Bloomberg's has come forward about a very disturbing April Fool's trick a fellow classmate pulled on the mayor. The student, despite having performed poorly in math, was promoted to fourth grade, taunting the mayor (notorious for his disapproval of social promotion) the following year. No comment from City Hall on the article. Whatever the outcome today, though, this will be an April Fool's Day those on either side of the Whoopie Cushion divide won't laugh about for a while.