April Fool’s Day is looming nearer and that made me think about laughter. Not just think about it, though. The last few days I want to do it all the time. It might have something to do with spring finally arriving and the sun coming out for longer than a few minutes.
In fact, I was leafing through a cool datebook I got as a present – it’s got interesting daily questions and answers – and stumbled on LOL. The abbreviation originally comes from internet slang, though nowadays it’s used everywhere. From emails and text messages to real live conversation, LOL is a perfect way to convey a laughing outburst quickly and still generate a reaction. And not just laughter. It’s great for expressing sarcasm, too, or irony. “Laugh out loud” or “laughing out loud” basically translates into German as “Ich lach mich kaputt”, which I love and which definitely makes me LOL. There’s also ROFL – rolling on the floor laughing, which practically reduces me to tears.
April Fool’s customs vary in different countries and it’s interesting to compare various traditions with each other, or trace their historical origins, which are sometimes even connected to political or economical events. Statistics on Germany, for example, will inform you about all sorts of facts related to this fascinating country. And there is no shortage of humor here. Especially on April Fool’s. I once had it as a work day, but I was sick, so I stayed at home. Later I asked a colleague if I had missed anything, and he told me the fire department came to free a few interns who accidentally locked themselves in the basement of the building. It took me a while to realize I’d been pranked!
April Fool’s has been around for a while, though historians debate just for how long, says an article on the Deutsche Welle. The story obervantly mentiones that it’s harder to get away with practical jokes nowadays – you might just blow the lid on someone’s temper, considering that work and career-related pressures have only mounted in recent decades. Still, there always’s room for a laugh, and as long as your joke isn’t directly hurting anyone, it’s fine. The execution just needs careful planning and a good poker face if you’re having direct contact with the subject of the joke. A lot of April Fool’s pranks have migrated to the media and social networking sites.
By the way, according to a survey by Lab42 on relationship status updates, for 13% of social networkers’ the most preferred trait in a significant other was a similar sense of humor.
Let there be laughter!
Image Note: Stephanie Kopf