You should always be skeptical of things you read online, but never more so than on April 1. I hadn’t noticed that the clock had ticked over when, at about 12:05 this morning, I clicked a link in Twitter to an article that looked intriguing, and just as it was about to get to the punchline, I got Rickrolled. Gah. (We don’t play pranks here at Interesting Thing of the Day. Life is too short.)
During the years I lived in France, I’d sometimes see people with paper fish stuck to their backs on April 1. The French call these pranks poisson d’avril (April fish), a somewhat goofier and less irritating take on the tradition than what we typically see in North America.
The exact origins of April Fools’ Day are unclear, but Merriam-Webster has some good historical information about the observance. Although I admit to pulling a few benign April Fools’ pranks over the years, I currently lean toward the opinion that taking advantage of people’s natural tendency to take things at face value is unkind. On the other hand, getting fooled in a relatively safe way, like trying to buy a product that doesn’t really exist, just might serve as a reminder to be circumspect and help you avoid a phishing attack or other online shenanigans.