Jeff Daniel, in a recent column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
, wonders if anyone celebrates April Fool's Day anymore. He writes:
For all practical purposes, the official day of practical joking appears to be as flat as a deflated whoopee cushion if reports from Sacramento, Calif., and Columbus, Ohio, are to be believed. Last April 1, newspapers in those cities ran stories investigating the tradition's demise. In one of the pieces, a reporter's random polling found not a single April Fools' Day participant.
Daniel conducted his own informal poll, asking people at a local mall if they observed April 1st. He found one person who did, but "The next 20 or so people queried at the mall have no April Fools' Day tales to tell. Zilch. Nada. No pranking. No punking. Just a lot of, 'Nothing leaps to mind' and, 'I don't think people do much these days, do they?' Our collective joy buzzer seems to have lost much of its buzz."
Of course, people have been predicting the imminent demise of April Fools' Day for a long time. On April 1, 1874 the New York Times
printed this commentary:
"The absurd customs of All Fools' Day are fast passing away, and although there is but a yearly recurrence of the season, people are prone to tire of follies which are entirely destitute of even the slightest flavor of wit. In England the April-fools making custom has still some standing, but here it dies out apace, and if it has any tangible existence at all, it is among small boys, who adopt such shallow devices to make fools as suits their idea of fun."
I'd agree that most people don't bother to celebrate April Fools. They never have. But a small, dedicated group of pranksters does the hard work of pranking for the rest of us. And thanks to the internet, their exploits have a far larger audience than ever before. So, in this sense, April Fool's Day has never been more popular. In other words, I think there's no chance that April Fool's Day is going to fade away any time soon.