I have great faith in fools – self-confidence, my friends call it. ~Edgar Allan Poe
Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, or in my family a sacred holiday. The day is always filled with hoaxes and practical jokes. My nephew Roger is a patron saint of this great day and has brought the level of jokes, on his Grandmother in particular, to levels that regular humanity is not so much accustomed to. He once managed to convince her over the phone, with some assistance from yours truly, that he was the dean of theology at Huron College and that he had an important message to get to her son Kevin. I had already planted my cell phone number with my Mother and told her to only call in the case of something urgent as I would be on a funeral. She called me at just before noon (the hour at which Newfoundlanders bring an end to April Fools Day). She told me that Dr. John Chapman had some good news for me and that it was important that I should hear it before noon. I was pleased to admonish her for calling while I was on a funeral and said that there was no way in my opinion that John Chapman could have called her. She was despondent, “Who could it be?” I asked her if she thought it could be Roger. “How would Roger know Dr. John Chapman,” she asked. “Mom what day is it?” There was silence – “Please tell me that was not Roger on the phone.” It was classic. She explained to me that she took great pains to speak properly and to say how proud she is of her Kevin. All of this very entertaining to Roger, who as the eldest grandson has spent at least 3 cumulative years of his 38 + years on earth playing practical jokes on his grandparents. It was all embarrassing to her and as a result, it was deemed a successful prank and a great April Fool’s moment. Roger is great – good fun indeed.
Sadly for my mother she has more than one fool in her family and is often left having to ask herself how she got such a crazy crowd for a family. I wonder what tricks will be on deck tomorrow morning for Roger’s victims who walk the earth tonight blissfully ignorant of the knowledge that before the clock strikes twelve tomorrow they will feel embarrassed and foolish. They will be left hitting their heads against a wall and declaring, “I can’t believe that I listened to anything that he said to me this morning.”
It is a fun day indeed and is a great cause for celebration for people like myself for whom foolishness is a natural condition set on me at birth. I am told that there is an old proverb that says, “He who is born a fool is never cured.” Not that people have not tried to cure me of this condition. In school more than one teacher gave me a speech about how I needed to be more serious. One teacher reminded me that “I would not make a living being foolish.” WRONG again, I’m making a small fortune (emphasis on small) now doing stand-up on Sunday mornings. A week ago I played to over 400 people on a Saturday Evening/Sunday Morning Double billing! Sometimes my name is even in the advertisements in the paper. Then there was the odd priest or two who through my involvement as youth in the church reminded me that being funny in church was not appropriate. WOW – again I seem to still be getting away with that one too! Then there was the seminary experience which could, at times, be completely humourless. That didn’t stop me from once placing Canadian Tire Money on the collection plate at the chapel. Again – I was still laughing when I left Huron College. The biggest joke was the night they awarded me a Master’s Degree. Then there was the humourless experience of a bishop I once knew who also did not find me very funny. He declared that I would not make it as a priest. Again – so far, so good…I think! Generally, I guess I would say that if I had a dime for every time that someone has said “BE SEROIUS FOR ONCE,” I would be a rather foolish but wealthy man. As Edgar Allen Poe said, I have great faith in fools – self-confidence, my friends call it.
If you can’t laugh at yourself, you really won’t enjoy life too much. I think that we all take ourselves far too seriously, especially in church land. So tomorrow, take a moment and celebrate your foolishness. Laughter is a great way to cure many things – so let’s take advantage of that, since there is NO cure for our foolishness!