Burger King



Morton Salt

On this day in 1998, Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper.” The ad was very successful, and many customers ordered the fake sandwich. It was April 1st, April Fool’s Day.     April is National Humor Month, and the left-handed burger got a lot of laughs.

In 1700, English pranksters popularized playing practical jokes on each other, and the slams and pranks continue. Am I the only one who thinks that many of the things we’ve seen and heard recently from both the Democrat and Republican candidates seem like they should be followed by a laugh and the words, “April Fools! Just kidding!”

Through the years there have been many surprising and hurtful “jokes” played on adults and children on April 1st.    Years ago, long before dementia got in the way, my mother said that on April Fool’s Day  everyone should treat the day with a pinch of salt (meaning to maintain a degree of doubt or caution). Even with salt ready to pinch, I think there are certain topics that should NOT be jokingly used:   being offered a job or being fired from a job;   marriage proposals or divorce suggestions;   the results of medical tests or procedures;   the loss of a pet.   I have heard of all these being used on April 1st, and when a joker says, “April Fools, only kidding!” it’s small comfort after a child has been told his hamster died, or an employer said he’d decided to hire his nephew in your place.

By the time you read this, April Fool’s Day will be almost over and on April 2nd you can celebrate Children’s Book Day or National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. But then on April 3rd, Don’t Go To Work Unless It’s Fun Day, you might want to rethink the suggestion.    And on April 4th, Tell A Lie Day, it’s almost another April Fools’ opportunity.

The good news is that April showers will bring May flowers, and April is also National Poetry Month. Read or write humorous poems, and you’ll have it covered. Skip over Plan Your Epitaph Day on April 6th, and make the most of the 7th, which is both National Beer Day and No Housework Day, and you’re on your way. Just don’t play mean tricks on anyone, okay?   They might not be armed with a pinch of salt to protect themselves.

April 1, 1984, singer-song writer Marvin Gaye is shot and killed by his father.

April 1, 1984, singer-song writer Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father.

April showers bring May flowers.

April showers bring May flowers.

April 1, 1970, President Nixon signed legislation banning cigarette ads on TV and radio.

April 1, 1970, President Nixon signed legislation banning cigarette ads on TV and radio.



Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, memories for great-grandchildren, special days in April, special quotations

42 responses to “A PINCH OF SALT

  1. juliabarrett

    I’ve never been a fan of April Fool’s Day. Big fan of May Day though. We had rules about jokes as well. Had to be innocuous. Like maybe the worst was jello in a pair of socks or something. 🙂

  2. I like your rules about April Fool’s jokes, Julia. Jello in socks, or left-handed Whoopers are innocuous jokes, funny and fun but not hurtful.
    I vote for May Day, too. I loved making May baskets and hanging on the doors of elderly neighbors.

  3. Marylin, great list. I missed out on an April Fools Day prank. I see I have another chance. Enjoy your weekend. 😊

    • This year I didn’t receive any pranks…or play any, either, Tracy. From what I’ve heard from others lately, though, it sounds like the entire month of April (which is National Humorous Month) is open to pranks. 😉 If you come up with a good one, let me know!

  4. The approach to every election day seems to be full of promises that turn out to be April Fools jokes or Porkies for Tell a Lie Day. Maybe we should create a Tell The Truth day on which Politicians can be sacked if caught out in a lie. Hmmm, I suppose that’s not feasible given there would be no-one left to run the Government.
    Have a Great Children’s Book Day or PB&J Day.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • Great suggestion, David! But Tell The Truth Day would be a tough one to enforce, wouldn’t it? The ones lying are usually very good at it, plus they have ways of avoiding the tests. ;( But it’s still a good suggestion.
      PB&J Day is one of my favorite days!
      Massive Hugs to you, too! ❤

  5. Oh, if only Donald Trump turned out to be an April Fool’s joke. From this side of the pond we watch with increasing incredulity.
    On a lighter note – school holidays at the moment, so no danger this year of being “had” by over enthusiastic students 😀

    • The incredulity is increasing on our side of the pond, too, Jenny!
      Your school holiday is timed perfectly if you escape the antics of students. We didn’t, and high schoolers can be VERY creative with it comes to pranks. 😉

  6. We enjoyed discussing past tricks at our staff break today. The best current story involved a colleague’s husband who was in Nashville at a conference and he had texted her that they went to a honky tonk for some music and saw Brad Paisley. She immediately knew it was a joke but her kids (all young adults) actually fell for it.

    • Tricks like that are a lot of fun, Melodie. One of my favorites was a former student who (prearranged) rushing into the office of one of the older teachers, asking for help because the refrigerator in the teachers lounge was leaking all over the floor. She hurried in to see, where a group of her students waited with a birthday cake…with 60 candles for her April 1st birthday. It was very sweet. 🙂

  7. Great list, Marylin! Don’t go to work day unless it’s fun sounds like a great idea to me! 🙂 Happy Weekend!

  8. My dad loved April Fool´s Day and played some very funny jokes on us. So it is a favourite day of mine as it reminds me of Dad. He would never do anything hurtful or mean of course, always a good laugh when you figured out the joke.

    • My favorite was my aunt and uncle, Darlene.
      My uncle had played an April Fool’s trick on her that morning (not a bad one) and she laughed and brushed it off. At dinner that night, for dessert she served chocolate pudding in pretty little bowls with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Except his bowl had raw liver (whipped up) with whipped cream and a cherry on top. She served it with a straight face, and everyone watched to see his reaction. 🙂 They were a wonderful, funny, loving couple, and I miss them.

  9. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Happy “we survived April 1” Day!

  10. On April Fool’s Day my Power Pump instructor had us put our mats against the wall and asked us to do a handstand. Knowing most of her clientele are women in late middle-age, it was a gag. We weren’t amused.

    I do recall from childhood the Morton Salt girl ad with the upturned salt shaker. And I remember thinking she was being wasteful.

    • Oh, Marian, read Joanne’s comment below, and imagine how “un-amused” her husband was! ❤ There are some that are funny, and some not so funny. 😉 Doing an unexpected handstand on a mat would be in the second category! I'm very glad that April 1st is only one day a year.

  11. A Canadian Airline WestJet, puts out an ad each April first announcing a new innovation for their ‘guests’.
    One year you were to be snlevto noard your sests in the wsiting area and thry would be motorized and board everyone automatically. They actually showed the device in similultated operation. Each year I look forward yo their latest trick. This year it was doing away with the food/drink carts and the requested items, ordered on an IPhone Spp would be diveted by an overhead device that would travel along tracks in the ceiling. Thus eliminating the bottle-neck of carts and passengers trying to access washrooms

    • I’m nervous enough going through the long lines and check-ins, etc., Rod; an April 1st “innovation” would be too much. But seeing the device in simulated operation would be interesting. 🙂

  12. I love the idea of peanut butter and jelly day! I’m not fond of tricks on April 1 Marylin but this year I teased Jim that I thought I was pregnant. 😉 We both got a good laugh out of that one!

    • Oh, Joanne, your April Fool’s trick still has me laughing! Just wait, you know Grandpa will at some point (years from now) tell Penelope that when she was just two months old, Grandma Joanne played this trick!
      🙂 ❤

  13. Jane Sturgeon

    ❤ I'm with your lovely Mum on a pinch of salt with April Fool's Day. I remember the BBC did a piece on a spaghetti tree one year! Much love and hugs flowing to you all. ❤

  14. Oh, Jane, is that the April Fool’s “spaghetti growing from trees” in Scotland? I’ve received two emails referring to it, and one report was that the birds seemed to like the joke. 😉
    My mom did not care for any pranks that embarrassed, confused or hurt anyone’s feelings. Her reply of a pinch of salt helped us treat the whole thing like a joke, but I think she was very glad when April 1st was over.
    I was so glad to get your email, Jane. Let me know how it goes, meeting the writers in your new neighborhood! Many hugs to you! ❤

  15. Marylin, I love your mother’s recommendation to take April Fool’s Day with a pinch of salt…one year my sister and brother-in-law told me that my brother-in-law, who at the time was out of a job, was offered a job on the East Coast near our home. I was beyond excited and so happy that my boys would have cousins near by to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Shortly after my excitement built I learned that this was an April Fool’s joke. I cried for hours the disappointment ran deep. Needless to say I didn’t find their joke funny at the time but they all still laugh at how gullible I am. Have a wonderful week my friend! And enjoy the 7th! Not that I know, I am going to have a beer with dinner and avoid house work! Thanks for the tip! 😉

    • Ouch, Robyn. I think that hurts almost more, for a joke to make you thrilled–and then disappointed–than for a joke to make you upset or sad–and then relieved and happy that it’s not true. Either way isn’t good. You deserve two beers with dinner and no house work for a week, just to help you get over that bad joke years ago. (You have my permission to play this card for all it’s worth! 😉 )

  16. I’ve never been a fan of April Fool’s Day. It sometimes seems a day that people feel it’s OK to just be mean. I like David’s idea about the politician’s truth day.
    That said, some of the fake news reports and such have been very funny–such as the Left-handed Burger (which I do not remember.) My very favorite is this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVo_wkxH9dU

  17. Lots of smiles from this article Marilyn. I am notoriously gullible for falling for April Fool’s Day jokes. I keep thinking surely I will become less trusting. 🙂

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Sue. 🙂
      Through the years I’ve become less gullible about the April Fool jokes, but I’m still surprised at how cruel some of the pranks I hear about are, and the embarrassment and hard feelings they cause. I hope the jokes you fall for are just funny.

  18. Jim

    I’ve never liked April Fools Day. My dislike started clear back on the playground during recess in second grade. An older kid came up to me and told me the principal wanted to see me pronto. I asked what “pronto” meant. He said with a mean voice, “Don’t you know nuthin’, you little twerp. Pronto means FAST.” With fear-and-trembling I started toward the school building. Then a loud chorus of “ha-ha-ha, April Fools” emitted from the kid and his buddies. Ever after, I avoided that kid, April 1st or not. 🙂

  19. Aw, honey, such a story. Now I understand why you’ve always been so anti-bully and protective of our daughter, our grandchildren, and really all children who are being picked on. Love you lots and lots, forever and ever, and that’s no April Fools joke. ❤ ❤ ❤

  20. Molly

    The best April Fools trick I ever pulled off was wrapping Dad’s soap in Saran Wrap! 😏 But my yearly stand by prank was to tell you that Balance Rock in Garden of the Gods had finally fallen over. If it was foggy on April 1, then I also got to tell you someone had stolen Pikes Peak.

    Oh the sillyness of April 1! I am so glad that Grace and Gannon haven’t gotten “into” the pranks!

    • Your April Fool’s pranks were always cute, never hurtful, so we got a kick out of them. It’s the mean pranks I don’t like, so I’m glad we’re way past April 1st. Love you lots, Mookie. ❤

  21. We visited our grandchildren on April 1. Knowing that they were old enough at 5 and 3 to begin to understand the concept of a prank, I asked FB friends for ideas. As it turned out, we didn’t use any of them but talked about the idea. One of the ideas was substituting salt for sugar in whipped cream. That would be more than a pinch of salt!

  22. I think every day should be don’t go to work unless it’s fun day – although if it was, I’d be on the breadline 🙂 I got pranked on April 1st by a weather presenter on the TV who said that because our winters were much warmer now scientists had decided we would now only have 3 seasons instead of 4 – I was completely fooled and quite sad that we’d no longer have winter!

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