Sunday marked the informal yet infamous "April Fools Day."
Legend holds that the custom of playing tricks on friends originated in France during the middle 1500s. The European calendar, which formerly recognized the first day of the new year as April 1, was shifted in 1564 to January 1 by decree of King Charles IX.
Those who disliked the decision and continued to observe the first day of April as New Year's Day quickly became the butt of jokes and tricks by friends who dubbed them "April Fools."
I know it's hard to fathom such rudeness from the French, but it's all right there on the internet.
And like the twelve days of Christmas or the eighteen of March Madness, last week seemed to coagulate into the Seven Days of April Foolishness.
Perhaps I became sensitized to these acts of idiocy based on my own behavior. On Wednesday I weighed myself twice at the gym—once before taking a shower and again afterward, somehow rationalizing that a pot-roast sized piece of filth had been surreptitiously pried off my scapula by the water stream and rendered me a peck lighter.
Or maybe my cackles were elevated when my eleven-year-old daughter and I, after purchasing a five-dollar hamster, were advised by the pet shelter lady to have the rodent neutered by an exotic animal veterinarian, even though it faced a life of solitary confinement.
Isn't that kind of like asking Charles Manson to invest in an IRA?
Whether or not last week provided a larger than average dose of foolishness, I'll let you, the enlightened reader, decide. Here's some of the nonsense that went down:
Former Massachusetts governor and current clueless blue blood, Mitt Romney, felt compelled to relate a joke to Wisconsin voters:
"One of the most humorous I think relates to my father. You may remember my father, George Romney, was president of an automobile company called American Motors...and as the president of the company he decided to close the factory in Michigan and move all the production to Wisconsin.
Now later he decided to run for governor of Michigan and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign...Every time they would start playing 'On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin,' my dad’s political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop, because they didn't want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin."
Hang on a second. Ever tried typing while laughing so hard that your eyebrows grow? Whoa. Okay, better. Nothing busts me up like a good old fashioned closed factory joke. I hope I don't think about that while riding the bus tonight. People will move away from the cackling lunatic.
Then there was Geraldo Rivera—you know, the guy who led the search for Al Capone's vaults, the most epic snipe hunt in the history of the small screen?
Yeah, same guy, and last week he claimed that Trayvon Martin was partially responsible for his own death because he'd been wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
Geraldo, you've got a point, and but for the grace of God, so goes Bill Belichick after all those years trolling the New England sideline rocking that notorious thug wear.
Finally, the coup de grace of a week drenched in nitwittedness occurred Saturday night, when drunken University of Kentucky basketball fans rioted in the streets of Lexington, setting cars and couches ablaze and hurling beer cans in a celebratory orgy over their team's Final Four victory.
As asinine as is the act of destroying property to express happiness, go ahead and slather on another coat of imbecility to this behavior, because the basketball team hadn't even won the championship game yet—for all these cretins knew, they were overturning Ford Escorts and USA Today dispensers over a second place finish.
I could list further examples of idiotic behavior last week, like the British supermarket chain which distributed forty-seven thousand David Beckham posters to English school children which displayed Beckham's large arm tattoo of his wife in lingerie, or Rick Santorum saying something on tape and then denying he said it and getting really mad at a reporter for bringing it up.
But you get the idea. And since Santorum and Romney have rendered their verbal gaffes a weekly occurrence, I'm wondering if Groundhog Day might be more a more appropriate metaphor.