Everyday is April Fools Day
Today is April Fools’ Day. It’s the day in the year when people are encouraged to lie right to your face, wait for you to make a fool of yourself because of the lie, and then laugh at you. I have mixed feelings about this particular ‘holiday’. For some reason, I usually end up as the butt of more pranks than I dish out. But it’s okay, since I can arm myself against pranks.
I classify pranks into two categories: physical and verbal. Physical pranks involve the careful setup of a prank using objects, such as cellophane on the toilet seat. Verbal pranks are much easier to pull off. They pretty much just involve the telling of a lie. There’s not much we can do to avoid the physical pranks (other than poking at the toilet), but luckily, we can train ourselves to not fall for verbal pranks. By not accepting out of the ordinary claims at face value and then critically think about the claim in question, you’ll never be the fool.
I like to think that April Fools’ Day is a great day for skepticism. It shows people how easy it is to be taken for a fool. Instinctually, we believe every word that a trusted person tells us, this includes family, friends, and the media. To be a skeptic, it’s important to treat every day like April Fools’ Day, unfortunately intentional and unintentional lies never take a holiday. When a family member tells you that homeopathy will cure what ails you, they aren’t trying to trick you, they’ve been tricked and are passing the trick on. It’s up to you to break the chain and say “I don’t know about that, can you prove it?” Think of it as a ‘mind virus’, and skepticism is the vaccine to inoculate you.
I think being skeptical 364 days a year is enough, today I’ll take a day off from my crusade to stop the spread of misinformation, and prank the people that I’ve worked so hard to gain the trust of. I hope they aren’t reading this.