I am anything but a party pooper. I love to have fun, I do.
I just don’t enjoy having fun at someone else’s expense. That’s why I won’t be playing any April Fool’s Day jokes on anyone this year.
I don’t think being made to feel foolish and stupid is fun. I’ve never thought practical jokes were fun for anyone but the people perpetrating the joke.
Honestly I think it’s a bit sadistic, a bit bullying.
There are shows that trade on this subtle sadism (Punk’d, the old Candid Camera – and Borat), and they are often quite funny for us in on the joke. I admit I’ve laughed at many, and even participated in a mild joke a time or two (I did take pleasure in telling our old boss, at a critical, stress-filled time, that we were all giving notice when we had no real intention of doing so – not that he believed the foreshadowing event for a second). But more often than not I feel embarrassed for the person, and my own cheeks turn red in an empathetic sympathy blush.
We delight in acts of cruelty performed on others because it means that, just this once, we’ve avoided being the butt of the joke. Laugh loudly enough and, fingers crossed, the bully’s glance will not fall on me the next time he is searching for a victim. I’m sure there are those that will say I need to grow a sense of humor. Being berated for not joining in on the “fun” is just another type of social shaming, isn’t it?
It seems we’ve never left the schoolyard playground.
I’m sure I’ll still laugh at some of the practical jokes I witness. I don’t know how not to do that. I just hope to teach my son that being the butt of anyone’s joke is never fun, and hope my own example will be enough to instill a nice, huge scoop of empathy in his psyche.