It’s not all funny on April Fool’s


When April Fools’ Day rolls around, many newspapers are tempted to play around with headlines and phony news. While some of them are funny, some can have painful consequences like what happened in Romania in 2000.

Imagine reading that your husband or brother who has been held in a squalid Romanian prison for years is finally going to be released. You make the long journey to the prison and stand outside the prison gates, waiting desperately for the moment you’ll be reunited with your loved one, only to hear, “April Fools! No one’s being released!”

This experience happened to 60 people in April 2000 who read in the Opinia newspaper that their loved ones were going to be released from the Baia Mare prison in Romania. They made the long journey to the prison, only to learn that the paper had played an April Fools’ joke on them. The Opinia later published an apology.

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From Wikepedia: April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day, although not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbors, or sending them on a fool’s errand, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible. In some countries, the jokes only last until noon: like the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Someone who plays a trick after noon is called an “April Fool.” Else­where, such as in Ireland, France and the United States, jokes last all day.

Another origin is that April 1 was counted the first day of the year in France. When King Charles IX changed it to Jan. 1, some people stayed with April 1. Those who did were called “April Fools” and were taunted by their neighbors.

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Where else but Kansas would this happen? On the flight from Denver to Wichita the other weekend we overheard a Kansas Wesleyan quarterback, who had been at home in California for spring break, trying with no luck to reach someone to pick him up at the airport.

People started asking him where he was going and he said Salina. Then a woman a few seats back said she would be glad to take him to Salina. No hesitation.

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I have an idea of how to save the Post Office. If everyone would send a tea bag to their congressmen in Washington every day for a month it would bring many millions of dollars into the system. This other idea is less well thought out. We could start a free paper in every community in the U.S. that doesn’t already have one.

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Thought I would take a little space here and salute our staff for bringing you the biggest paper we have ever had this week (0.4 pounds each). It took a great deal of effort to make it happen. Enjoy.

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I wrote recently that we were planning to shred our old records in the near future. That does not include any of our digital information, which we have multiple backups from the first day we started. We’re up to nearly 400 CDs and DVDs containing past issues and photos and ad files. You name it, we have it.

And, thanks to the system that Diane Steiner, who is now the senior designer at Tabor College, created for us in the early days, we can nearly always find what we need.


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