April Foolishness

Back in the last decade a friend called to tell me that a business associate had been trampled by a herd of deer on his Easthampton property. I didn’t question the story and immediately phoned my associate.

“Are you okay?”

“Why wouldn’t I be okay.” Billy was a man of moderate wealth. He was in love with his beautiful wife and two daughters. His voice was free of pain.

“No reason.” I realized that my friend had played a practical joke for April Fool’s Day. “Have a nice evening.”

I hung up the phone and sat on my bed slightly angered by my friend’s prank, but it was April Fool’s Day and my landlord got a good chuckle upon hearing about my gullibility. He was also friends with Billy.

“It’s an April Fool’s tradition.”

“And my brother’s birthday.” I had contacted him early to wish happy birthday. “The tradition comes from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with merry-makers celebrating March 32th by sticking a paper fish on the backs of friends and family.”

“That’s silly,” AP’s son commented from the next room. He had good hearing.

“Yes, it is, but back in the Middle Ages the New Year was celebrated on March 25th to match the Spring Equinox, then the Pope changed it to January 1st by the Edict of Rousillon.”

‘You know a lot of stuff.” James attended an expensive neighborhood school. His parents expected him to excel in his classes.

“I read a lot.” Not as much now as earlier in the year. The world is doomed to end on May 21 according to the Christian and they aren’t joking about the Apocalypse. “James, there’s a dog on your head.”

“No, there isn’t.” His hands went to his head.

“April Fool.” Six year-old boys are easier targets, but so are fifty-nine year old men.

And that’s no joke.

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