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  • 04.01.08

Work/Life: April Fool’s–One Day Of Idiocy Is Simply Not Enough

 

 

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  • Apparently it is very difficult to trace the origins ofApril Fool’s Day, although several theories abound.  The most popular involves the switch to the Gregoriancalendar in the 1500’s, in which holdouts who insisted upon honoring the oldJulian calendar (which had its new year in the week culminating in the first ofApril) had practical jokes played upon them.  Days set aside for foolery go back to the Middle Ages, andsome say this day evolved from the Saturnalia, a Roman winter festival in whichridiculous behavior was encouraged, including the election of a mock king forthe day.  Now, there’s an idea fora workplace team-building exercise.  
  • Anyone seeking work/life harmony knows the importance ofcutting loose and behaving foolishly. It’s a great tonic, it keeps things in perspective, and it often allowsyou to stick your finger up your nose when you otherwise might decide not to doso.   Those of us with kidsknow how they can be silly at the drop of a hat; we also know how much fun itis to join them in the sheer joy of making growling noises while on all fourswith a stuffed animal clenched between your teeth.   Hm. Perhaps that was too much information. 
  • In any case, the issue here is that somehow human societygot into the habit of setting aside one single day on which to act out of theordinary in some way.   OnValentine’s Day, we are meant to take a break from our hectic schedules andremind the person we love how much we care.  Halloween is the day to play dress up and honor the spiritworld.  Thanksgiving is the day tobe thankful, and so on.  Someone usually points out that of course we should be thankful orloving 365 days a year, and some are able to, but maybe we can slip intocomplacency because we have these days set aside and can simply stand by andwait for them to come around again. Think about Black History Month, another commemoration that only servesto point up that any block of time other than “constantly” can call attentionto the shortcomings of the system. 
  • Well, it’s not enough, I say!  And April Fool’s is the perfect day to drive that pointhome.  Why limit lunatic behaviorto one day?  Why, one source claimsthat our Fool’s Day may have roots in India’s festival of Holi, during whichcelebrants throw tinted powders at each other.  How about that at the next quarterly performancereview?   Still anotherEuropean tradition found servants swapping places with their masters for 24hours.  That sounds like a great ideato encourage that “outside the box” thinking the higher-ups are always blabbingon about.   Nothing keeps usin balance like a good step back to give us some distance on our own supposedimportance.   And, if we’reall going to stay sane and healthy while we’re trying to out-achieve ourcompetitors, we need a lot more than one day to honor our inner idiot.