^The fact that such awful clip-art exists for such a pointless day physically hurts my being.
I’m not adverse to pranks. On the contrary, a good and well thought out prank is often unrivalled in hilarity. Although I was the “victim” of it, one of my favourite pranks was when I went home for the Christmas holidays, only to find on my return to my London house, my flatmates had removed my bedroom door from the hinges and then hidden it. It took me a good thirty minutes to realise I didn’t have a door, when my muscle-memory attempted to close thin air just before getting changed. For a while, I thought that there had been an accident where my door had needed to be removed from the vicinity. It didn’t become obvious it was a prank until I rang one of my flatmates asking if something had happened to my door, only to get the response, “What door?” followed by a stifled giggle. Eventually, my impish flatmate got home to reveal where my door was secreted, as I couldn’t find it. It was under the staircase. A classic.
But you know what made a lot of that prank good (other than the amusingly obtuse immaturity, I mean)? The element of surprise. At no point would I have expected my door to go missing. Hence, hilarity. Therein lays the problem with April Fools’ Day. Gone is any semblance of surprise. You know to expect pranks everywhere, which makes it all the more depressing when you discover what passes as a prank nowadays – particularly online.
It’s rarely real people who indulge in the pranks either; rather, it is brands and website owners desperately cloying to connect with internet users through an awfully cheesy sense of humour in a vain attempt to strike up some kind of relationship. There is no surprise, there is no thought, there are no chuckles. There is just this;
Oh, haha. I get it! The joke is that Youtube was always a competition. How funny! My sides are splitting! Seriously, call an ambulance. This isn’t a laughing matter.
I won’t deny that occasionally a good prank comes out on April Fools’. But the real power of a prank comes from two things; surprise and believability. April Fools’ Day is just a carnival of predictability where any of the good jokes are spoilt by the fact that the joker only saw it fit to exercise their wit on a predetermined day of the year. Yay for the on-going homogenisation of humour.