I HATE April Fool's Day.

I'm a clown who hates April Fool's Day. Weird, right? This should be a special day for mischief, it's the Day of the Clown, a day for laughter and silly hoaxes. It's harmless fun... or at least it should be. That's how it began, anyway. And I love many of the corporate gags, which are usually absurd enough to be obvious but not emotionally stirring... like Grouber, where all the drivers are cats. Whatever, right? I can smile, shake my head and keep on with my day. But it seems sometimes like now it's a day for getting pleasure out of the confusion of others, and to celebrate successfully manipulating them in ways that comes off pretty unfunny to me.

As someone who is keenly aware that many people in my community are suicidal and otherwise unwell, "jokes" about a sudden and drastic life change doesn't come off as obviously made up, to me. It comes off as a warning sign that this person is struggling, that they're reaching out for help. I *like* this part of myself, who cares deeply about other people I'm in touch with, however well we know each other. I don't want to feel publicly humiliated for being concerned when someone suddenly announces they're quitting their job or moving to another city suddenly or giving up a core part of their identity. We should be encouraging this sort of mutual care, not punishing it.

Not only that, but for people who aren't neurotypical, this kind of manipulative "pranking" can be really confusing and difficult to navigate. Feeling made fun of because you believe what people are saying at face value is kind of shitty. I was reading about how some kids with autism dread today because they take the fake tests or other jokes they might experience at school seriously and it stresses them out, not only that the surprise thing happened, but that they were then laughed at for their response.

I mean, ok, granted, I'm considered a humourless feminist anyway, so all this should come at no surprise.  But I think there's a difference between a gentle joke and pretending you have a terminal illness or are suicidal. I hate that a day that's supposed to be playful and fun just teaches people to be suspicious, not trust each other, try to "win" at being more of a dick, and gain pleasure from causing other people anxiety or pain. I read in a private group that it felt like the whole world was gaslighting you and I think that rings very true.

So please, keep that in mind, this April Fool's Day and every day, really. Not everyone feels safe enough to be fucked with, even by their friends. Be considerate and kind, not cruel.

Categories: best of, communication, community, consent, personal

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