April Fool's Day is an invention designed to make a certain portion of society feel like they should know better than to get out of bed in the morning. Once people pass an age when eating worms is fun, playing April Fool's tricks is more an exercise in willful cruelty than a lighthearted joke.
This April was no different, with 'funnies' going on all over the internet (and yes, some are funny) and lots of fake statuses on Facebook (no change there then). I was drawn in more by the statuses as it's natural to read them and think they're really what people are thinking and doing.
I expect it seems silly to the less gullible that I wouldn't automatically think of April Fool's when I was reading these things. I did. I reminded myself of the date before I logged on but forgot as soon as I was immersed.
It's very annoying as my first reaction is to believe the status, then the second reaction is to realise they're not being serious. My third reaction is to feel ashamed that I was caught out again, even though no one knows.
I hate that feeling, the creeping shame that I got it wrong on such an obvious, elementary level. It's not because I'm full of pride, I don't mind laughing at myself. It's more to do with all the times when it happens accidentally, when other people say something and I don't realise they're either joking or lying and I get taken in.
Again and again, readers. How many times do you have to be gullible before it wears off? Does it ever? Would I want it to?
I often think of myself as cynical when it comes to some parts of life but when other people open their mouths and say something, I tend to believe them before I think it through. It's as if the words tumbling from their lips form their own kind of reality. It is true because it was spoken.
Then I have to backtrack and remind myself that people often say things that aren't true. I know this is not news, but still I expect others to tell the truth. Knowing that people lie and then applying that to the person standing in front of you are two different things.
Yet it happens so often I should be used to it. I don't mean I'm surrounded by liars, or that they are all false friends. Perhaps it's easier to say I often feel surrounded by people who massage reality, to try and get it to do what they want.
Also, they assume everyone else does the same and see nothing wrong with blending truth and lies. If I am taken in, it is my fault.
This is the accepted wisdom. Just as on April Fool's Day, there is a type of Buyer Beware running through life where the liar, the naysayer, the flimsy-worded malcontent who would have you treat them as a friend, thinks that if you believe what they say then it is your fault.
Doesn't everyone bend the truth? Therefore if we believe everything we are told, we must be fools. Somewhere along the line it became a given fact that people who take everyone as they see them and expect honesty are gullible and naive, whereas those who twist their words are people who live in the real world.
This real world of which you speak, it is nothing more and nothing less than real. Words cannot change it and small, imperceptible lies won't change it either.
I am a fool who thinks each new person may be honest, even though I know many people are not. I am still gullible after all these years and can be taken in by soft voices and smiling faces. I am naive and believe that people can be my friend, right here and now, because it feels like friendship.
Each day may have a breath of April Fool's to it but it's far better to live this way than to be always struggling in a morass of what is and is not true. Lying, to yourself or the world at large, is a lifelong commitment. Being a fool comes naturally and makes every day feel like new.
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