Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Hate April Fools Day

And to elucidate why, I'm going to just give you a run-down of my day yesterday.

I got up and walked River first thing, then got some work done- what else is new, right? Well, actually, that latter part- my mornings are usually entirely unproductive, so the fact that I sent five important emails, and made a Facebook event for one of the lectures I'm putting on and sent a Tweet about it, and re-Tweeted said Tweet on my own Twitter (God, I hate the language of the Internet sometimes, SMH), that's pretty fucking fabulous.

But anyhoo, I digress.

So I also went and snatched a package from the leasing office and paid my rent. Whilst there, I informed the ladies working there that on Friday, my awesome roommie was vandalized and thieved- her clothes had been taken out of the washing machine for our building and scattered all about the laundry room, and her hamper was stolen. All this while they left her huge, Sam's Club sized tub of laundry soap just sitting there. So was it a prank? Meh, doesn't matter, that's an asshole thing to do.

But while one of the gals working in there was really concerned about it, the other was seemingly annoyed that I'd have the audacity to inform them that there's someone filching things from the laundry room on the property she's supposed to be managing. I could call the cops, but they won't do anything, she said; My roommate should just be more careful with her stuff, she said; It's a shame, but what are you gonna do, she said. The other gal seemed appalled by this behavior, but, well, what could either of us do about that? The one being all shoulder-shrug-ee about it was the boss.

So then I opened the package once I got home, and it was filled with pieces of what looked like bone, made out of resin.

Wait, what?

Yeah, they definitely looked kind of like bone. Wait, no- antlers. Yeah.

What. The. Fuck.

And the address and name were entirely correct. So I looked in the package and found a very sweet little "thanks for shopping with me" slip that had an email address on it, as well as the name of the business (which confirmed the antler thing). I looked at my bank account and saw nothing from them in it when checking the last three months (although I did see that someone in Vegas bought makeup at Ulta... Mom...).

Now this was getting slightly creepy. 

"What uninformed friend would send you antlers, Gab?" my roommie asked. Fuck if I know.

As it had originally arrived April 1st, I thought mayhap it had been some sort of bizarre April Fool's joke. But I emailed the owner of the business, suggesting maybe it had been a gift, etc., and didn't hear back from him before hopping on the bus to campus. My first stop there was to the undergrad library (GULP) to do some color printing of posters for the lecture today. I should have done this last week, but health and that personal crap got in the way, so I decided it'd be best to just print one for each elevator in my building, as well as my own office door. To my chagrin, though, the computer took almost eight minutes to finally be able to handle Firefox (I know this because I got through two distinct songs on the album I had going on my MP3 player, and they run just shy of eight minutes together). So it took me way longer than anticipated to get that done.

Of course, I forgot my phone, so I had to borrow one from an officemate (and BFF) to order the pizzas for the lecture today. Eighteen. Sigh. It's always hard not to eat them, because I'm in love with pizza and it's there... but I always get a swanky dinner after the lecture (like the main perk I get from this gig- I'd get more out of it if I was an environmental policy person, not a social policy one). So I'd just embarrass myself if I took any. Plus, we usually run out, so yeah.

Then as I was actually putting those posters up, I got hit with a wave of ickiness and realized I was cramping. And the day I had another appointment, of all days... But I got the posters up, then dicked around on a lab computer until I needed to go meet a friend that was kind enough to take me to my appointment.

On the way to our designated meeting spot, I come across a dollar bill, folded in half (hamburger style) on the ground. Hm, that's strange, there are two bros right there. I ask them if it was theirs, they say no, looks like it's mine now. Well, okay. So I pick it up and start to walk again. But I notice it feels off- heavy, like there's something inside it. I feel it a bit with my thumb and notice it's a bit cold and has some sort of round shape. Indeed, something's in there. Gum? I squish and BOY DOES IT SQUISH. Out oozes something soft and brown that smells.

Yes. Shit. The dollar had a dollop of feces in it. 

I turn in panic and notice the two bros are chucking and staring at me. 

And I'm so embarrassed, I toss the dollar into some bushes and run, crying, into the nearest building to wash my hands.

Why the fuck is that funny? That's terrible and mean and cruel.

The friend I met up with also feels the same about Arpil Fool's Day. She even posted something about it on her FB, to which a few people responded with what comes down to, "If they're being an asshole, they're doing it wrong." She also pointed out that people like her (and myself) are highly susceptible to it because we're usually extremely trusting, almost to a fault. So if someone tells her she can get a free puppy, she's not going to think of the fact that it's April Fool's Day, she's going to call the number after discussing it ad nauseum with her fiance; and she's going to be really hurt and upset when the guy that answers the phone says some of his friends put up a fake sign with his number as a means of pranking him, never mind what it would do to people like my friend that genuinely wanted a dog. (And yes, I'm paraphrasing something she ended up telling me.) So she and I ranted about this a bit together when we got on the bus and went to her apartment. I then hung out with her and the two other people in her relationship for a few hours. But the whole time, the shit thing and the story she told me and some of my past experiences with April Fool's Day were bubbling in my head. I couldn't even watch Buffy all that enthusiastically.

My problem is that April Fool's Day isn't really about "jokes." It's just an excuse to be an asshole, so those people aren't really doing it wrong- and, actually, what's the "it" in the first place? April Fool's Day is a "holiday" for making rude behavior and pranking socially acceptable  People can let their inner fucktwat out by using "APRIL FOOLS!" as a disclaimer. It gives people with a propensity to troll have a shield behind which they can troll even more openly. And it makes people think being offensive is okay. That people are overreacting or "have no sense of humor" if they do get hurt or upset. And then those assholes doing the "pranks" make that person feel bad for being hurt.

When I was a senior at my undergrad, our school paper put an April Fools Day insert in. It was meant as satire, as a joke, but it was offensive. Because the main headline was a fictional story about how a (fake) local tribe kidnapped the college's president (a dude I was already on a first-name basis, let me say) and held him hostage in his office, demanding their lands back. There were statistics about scalpings, and a photoshopped picture of that same college president in a hugeass, stereotypical headdress, beside a bunch of very stereotypical dudes like this*:

It caused a huge stir, and I led the assault through letters to the editor, speeches on the floor of our student Senate, and meetings with various administration members. All the while, the editors and writers of the paper claimed "SATIRE! APRIL FOOLS! Don't you get the joke? No? Then you're just a prissy little prat. You have no sense of humor. And you should apologize to me for accusing me of being mean to you." The President wrote his own letter to them, and so did their own adviser, a personal friend of mine through our work with the first-generation/working-class organization on campus, too. In the end, I made a lot of enemies for it- I was still getting rude emails when my mom got into town to see me walk for graduation, and as recently as three years ago, someone I graduated with referenced it in a very snarky, snide way in their blog (something like, "And don't worry, no Native Americans were in any way objectified or hurt in the writing of this post, [insert my full name here]."). I saw it as standing up to a bunch of white trust fund babies that used April Fools Day as an excuse to make racist jokes at the expense of my people, while they saw it as a bully with no sense of humor demanding a school paper be censored ala George Orwell or some shit. 

I hate April Fool's Day because it's a means of legitimizing laughing at, not with, others. It's used as an excuse to hurt people.

Now, okay, I'll say that I'm cool with little jokes on April Fool's Day, mostly harmless stuff like when Google made it so you couldn't click on anything a few years ago, or the way Overthinkingit goes to Underthinkingit for the day. But nothing at the expense of others is okay. It should be laughing with, not at, each other. Any jokes on April Fool's Day should be no more extreme than anything you'd do on any other day- which, yeah, defeats the purpose, but then I ask you to ask yourself, what IS the purpose, then, other than to hurt people and point and laugh at them as they suffer? 

But I'll end on this: I got an email back from that business owner. Turns out, the antler pieces are real- they're chew toys for River that my older sis sent me as a gift, since I was telling her how River destroys supposedly indestructible toys in a few minutes, and her own dog loves these things and is a chewer of the same caliber. They come from this website, here. Very nice guy, and I got warm fuzzies when I realized it truly is a totally private business, and just LOOK AT THAT DOG ON THE HOMEPAGE!

So it wasn't a weird April Fool's joke. And that would have been okay, because that's not really mean, just weird. But instead, it was a nice gesture from the sister to which I wish I was closer.

But my roommate's laundry basket, while that wasn't on April 1st, that's still an asshole thing (and the fact that it being a prank was suggested by the office worker speaks volumes).

Putting shit in a dollar bill the day after April Fool's Day proves you're a sadistic asshole that needs have his balls put in a toaster. And laughing at the person that finds it proves you should then be forced to eat them.

*Not to say headdresses are entirely illegitimate- rather, in the context, they were obviously going for the huge, telling image, one more akin to this  or this, rather than anything remotely culturally sensitive. 

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, what is WRONG with people?

    I know the thing with the Pio happened years ago, but the student body's response is so frustrating. Check your privilege, asshats. I think Dr. Charlip summed it up best-- "I haven’t heard any good jokes lately. At least none that come only at the expense of the powerful."

    I enjoy the harmless April Fools things, like Netflix having incredibly specific categories or Google Maps turning into a treasure map. The rest of it is cruel.