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April Fools' Day Is the Worst, and Here’s Why

The fine tradition of putting fake dog turds on the ground and pointing at them has been corrupted by corporate greed.

by Joel Golby
Apr 1 2015, 2:00pm

A whoopee cushion, in the old days, when whoopee cushions said the word "poo." Photo via Steven Depolo

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

Dear God, April Fools' Day is the absolute dirt worst, isn't it? It's the worst. "Oh, Joel," you're saying. "Oh, Joel. Do you hate fun, Joel?" And the answer to that question is: Not normally, no. Ask anyone, I am a fun-liker. But April Fools' Day is the nadir of fun. The slow death of fun.

A lot of people say, "Ooh, famine's bad. Why don't you have a go at famine instead of fun." People say, "Police brutality is a thing, isn't it? Have a pop at that, if you're going to have a pop at anything. Or what about racism, or them sex rings? Why don't you write about something important?"

And to them I say, "Do you know that today Toblerone pretended that they were going to launch a new Toblerone that is hollow in the middle, for dieters?"

Someone rendered this. This is the result of years of training.

The joke is that dieters still like chocolate, but they would like to eat less chocolate than they are currently eating. The joke is that it would be borderline impossible to mass-produce fully hollow triangular chocolate, and even if it were possible, there's no way a hollow chocolate bar is making its way to stores without being crushed into sweet debris. That is the joke. That is the entire joke. They didn't even call it "Hole-blerone," an obvious portmanteau of Toblerone and hole. They called it "Toblerone Light." That's weak, Toblerone. Hang your almond-nougat head in shame.

Give me the choice between putting an end to corporate Twitter accounts tweeting jokes or putting an end to, like, war, and I would have a very difficult time making that decision. I am Sophie, this is my choice.

It didn't always used to be like this, did it? It never used to be this bad. It's not often I feel a deep yearning for the good old days—we can all accept that, other than that Paul Gascoigne goal against Scotland, the 90s were pretty awful—but at least the decade was better at April Fools' pranks. You know how it was, when you were a kid: People abided by the rule that April Fools' pranks were meant to stop at midday, lest the pranker become the Fool themselves. And no one wanted to be the Fool in the playground, because it meant everyone got to have a "free punch" on you.

That shit's gone out the window now, hasn't it? Bleary-eyed marketing teams roll into work today going, "Fuck, it's—Jesus fuck, it's April Fools' Day! Quick, get a press release going saying we've... I don't know. Fucking... Alton Towers is doing a new halal rollercoaster, or something... Say we're doing a Jeremy Clarkson waxwork at Madame Tussaud's! Pretend we're relevant!" Then they rush something out by 3 PM, the Guardian liveblogs what a shit effort it is, and the wheel keeps on turning. Bring back teachers wearing squirty-water flowers, I say. Bring back whoopee cushions making huge, rasping, repulsive farting noises. Bring back your parents sitting you down and solemnly pretending you are adopted.

There are three people I feel most sorry for in the whole April Fools' Day industry charade:

i. Anyone in PR who spent three long years at university, spending $31,000 in fees and worked a little foothold in the industry and spent two years sending emails to me going "Happy Humpday!" and finally worked—finally clawed—their way up to a vague senior account holder position only to sit in a meeting two weeks ago and say, "Backwards toilet?"

ii. Anyone who has vaguely passable Photoshop skills and who has spent the last month fielding calls saying, "Hiya, it's Ginsters! Can you Photoshop a vajazzle on a pasty?" And the person with the vaguely passable Photoshop skills looked at their bank statement sadly and then picked up the phone and said, "Yes."

iii. Lucy Mecklenburgh, formerly off of TOWIE, who is clearly so impoverished that when Tesco called her and said, "Hiya Lu, Tesco here. We're going to pretend to put trampolines in the aisles to make it easier for old ladies to reach the cereal, do you want to be the face of this hideous mess? There's $750 in it for you," Lucy Mecklenburgh looked at the dusty warehouse of unsold tanning mousses and protein mixes and autobiographies and affordable Lucy's Boutique dresses, and gazed deep into the eyes of her boyfriend, groomed Olympian Louis Smith, and then picked up the phone and said, "Yes."

Sorry about your career hun :(

And us, all of us, every last one, for having to watch this wretched circus yawn itself into oblivion. But this is the state of news in 2015, isn't it? April Fools' Day has been clickbaited into ruin. The day April Fools' died was the day Twitter implemented promoted tweets. With every newspaper slowly morphing into a very bad version of Buzzfeed, this is what constitutes as a headline on April Fools' Day: "You Will Not Believe What Pot Noodle Has Done Now." "Hailo Is Launching a New Service Where Some Fucker Will Lift You Up on Their Shoulders and Piggyback You Around." "Here Are the Ten Best April Fools' Pranks of 2015." "Here Are the Ten Worst." And all of the articles are about just brands pretending they have invented rainbow paint or trailing a new unlikely flavor combination ("New! Egg & Shit-Flavored Walkers!"). April Fools' Day sliced into lumps of flesh and sold to advertisers by the pound.

We deserve better. We deserve fake dog turds and toothpaste-filled Oreos. We deserve hot sauce doughnuts and sugar in the salt. We deserve to have our own piss trampolined back onto our pants thanks to a tight layer of cling wrap over the toilet. We deserve fishing line pulled taut across cycle paths. We deserve to be kidnapped by armed men in balaclavas and pushed into a van and driven, erratically and quickly, the wrong way down the highway, screaming and begging for our lives, our pants wet with piss and our face wet with tears, and then the man pulls his mask off and it's just Jeremy Beadle, just good old Jeremy Beadle, back from the dead with his chirpy grin and his little hand, and he pulls close to our face—so close we can feel his hot, dead breath on our lips—and he whispers: psych.

Don't let brands ruin the fine tradition of April Fools' Day for you. Shit in your colleague's desk drawer and reclaim your heritage now—as long as you're reading this before midday.

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