A Fool for April

In these days of fake news, I wonder whether pranks will be played in The White House. There have been some interesting April Fools’ jokes in the newspapers and on television throughout modern history.

In 2017, the Irish Times reported that Dublin was getting its very own ‘Trump Tower’, when it revealed that ‘Trump Dublin’ was expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The joke was completed with a fake tweet from Donald Trump: “Bought a small tower in Dublin, Ireland. We are going to build an awesome hotel in Dublin. It will be totally great. Love Ireland! Great country! #trumpdublin”.

One of my favourite BBC hoaxes is from 1965, when they interviewed a professor from London University who was supposed to have invented ‘smellovision’, which allowed viewers to smell aromas produced in the television studio in their homes. The professor explained that his machine broke scents down into their component molecules which could then be transmitted through the screen.

The professor offered a demonstration by placing first some coffee beans and then onions into the smellovision machine. He asked viewers to report by noon whether they were able to smell anything, instructing them that “for best results stand six feet away from your set and sniff.” Viewers called in from across the country to confirm that they distinctly experienced these scents as if they were there in the studio with him. Some claimed the onions made their eyes water.

sun-sprinkled birdsong
cracked joke of an empty egg
a fledgling’s first leap

Kim M. Russell, 1st April 2019

Image result for fledgling blackbird and cracked egg Pinterest
Image found on Pinterest

My haibun for dVerse Poets Pub Haibun Monday: April Fools’ Day

I’m hosting this week’s Haibun Monday, which happens to fall on April Fools’ day.  Apparently, not much is known about the origins of April Fools’ Day but among the theories there is one that interests: poetry. It has been argued that a story told by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century is the first reference to pranks taking place on the first of April. In this story, a fox plays a prank on a rooster. Chaucer doesn’t actually directly refer to April 1st although. In the poem, he does say 32 days “syn March began” – 32 days since March began, which would be April 1st. He also begins The Canterbury Tales with a positive reference to April.

A good reason, I think, for writing a haibun about April Fools’ Day!

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33 thoughts on “A Fool for April

  1. I love the story about the smelling TV… we had a similar joke being played in Sweden when they claimed that you could get a color TV by stretching ladies nylon stockings over the screen… apparently there were many who did, and some even claimed that they could see colors.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s amazing the things that people believe. I read a great one from The Poetry Society today which said that the British government is planning to tax poetry, which will increase the price of poetry books threefold! Something to do with Brexit?!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah. The whole Brexit thing is one three-year-long April Fools – staring with the biggest fools of them all, Cameron and Farage. I tried to read your haibun but the link doesn’t seem to be working.

      Like

      1. I’ve tried to sort it out and can’t. To be quite honest, I’m not sure it’s worth it! I get lots of nice strokes usually, I’m knackered, and I don’t know that I’ll get chance to do any more reading tomorrow. I’m frazzled. Thank you for trying, you are so lovely 🙏❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for hosting. I, too, remember the Swedish hoax on TV. They actually used some smell-o-vision in the late 50’s in conjunction with the new 3-D–it made people ill. I had a lot of fun with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My bedtime is just looming on the horizon and I’m about to shut down the laptop for the night. But I will be back in the morning bright and early to read and comment.

      Like

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