Of all the things to be celebrated cross-culturally, to have the potential to bring people of the world closer together, it would have to be April Fool's Day. Seriously, any other holiday would be better, don't you think? Instead of turning our friends into dupes, maybe we could all do something more positive with our time.
There's also the fact that time marches on with little regard for April Fool's tradition. So things like the 1946 tsunami in the Aleutians, the launch of Gmail, and the death of comedian Mitch Hedberg are all real things reported on an unfortunate day to be taken seriously.
So, in the interest of public service, here's a list of ten things that are surprisingly not a joke:
1. Despite his recent near-complete absence from the news, George Bush is still president of the United States. Not a joke!
2. Despite its announcement on April 1, 2006, there's actually a "Joy of Painting with Bob Ross" video game in the works. This game's eventual failure will not be deemed a mistake, but instead will be referred to as a "happy little accident". Not a joke!
3. A person fooled on April 1 in France is called a poisson d'Avril—an April Fish. The French traditionally celebrate the holiday by putting dead fish down the shirts of their friends—usually followed by the victim saying "Not in the armpit, not in the armpit—that's where I carry my baguette when I bike home!" Not a joke!
4. Ronald Reagan was kidding when he said "I've just signed a bill that outlaws the Soviet Union. We start bombing in five minutes." (Ah, the Red Dawn era…) He was, however, very serious when as California governor he told a group of student protesters, "If there has to be a bloodbath, then let's get it over with." Still, he's called The Great Communicator. Not a joke!
5. The Alabama Legislature did not vote to change the value of the mathematical constant Pi to the "Biblical value" of 3.0, as was jokingly reported in 1998. That was a joke based on a Robert Heinlein novel Stranger in a Strange Land. However, in October of 2007, the Alabama legislature did vote to approve the "textbook" "The Bible and Its Influence". Heinlein, though he died in 1988, was still quoted as saying "Hey, I had nothing to do with this shit." Not a joke!
6. A quick Google search will find 330,000 links to "Iraq War Casualties", but 98,000,000 for "Brittany Spears". Not a joke!
7. Vice President Dick Cheney recently responded to a reporter's question about what the majority of Americans believe by snapping "So what?" And he's still Vice President! Not a joke!
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8. Despite many internet articles to the contrary, Chuck Norris' tears have absolutely no medicinal effect whatsoever. Not a joke!
9. Taco Bell was kidding with their purchase of the Liberty Bell, and renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Burger King was kidding about introducing the Left-Handed Whopper. But McDonalds is not kidding about becoming a place where you might want to hang out, relax, and enjoy a delicious cup of quality coffee. (Just don't spill it on your genitals!) Not a joke!
10.This list doesn't have ten items. Or does it? Not a joke!