For those of us in the weekly newspaper game, there is a six or seven year wait for your publication day to come around to falling on April 1. That day when you’d be plotting prank stories about Arabs buying Galway United, when there’d be plans for a multi-storey carpark to be located under Eyre Square, or when the IDA would be announcing a new factory opening out in Parkmore for the production of skirting board ladders and glass hammers.
We had one April Fool’s story featuring a pilot study being conducted in Galway Cathedral where virtual confessions would be heard into a screen and where you would receive your penance on an email, with a list of boxes to be ticked to make sure you followed the instruction right down to the tenth Act of Contrition.
And the more you looked back at April Fool’s pranks, the more you realise that real life has trumped fiction in many cases. Where most, if not all of the above have actually happened or being mooted at some stage. That we now live in a world where it is more difficult to surprise us anymore. Where the unlikely is more probable than just possible.
Over the past few years, the word ‘unprecedented’ and the phrase ‘once in a century’ have been trotted out hundreds of times as we reside in societies where the possibility of wonder and shock and surprise has been taken from us. And how has that left us? It has made us anxious, worried, lacking sleep.
And at times like this, it has been more difficult to see the humour in most situations; it’s as if the mood isn’t upon us; that our overarching emotions are focused on just coping.
This week we have heard many announcements from the Government that are heartwarming and encouraging. They range from incentivising people to get back to small towns and villages to work there in hubs, to breathe new life into them. We also hear of funding for new walkways and cycleways; of plans to enable us to eat and drink and socialise in a safe environment outdoors.
Even the announcement of vague ideas of when we will be getting vaccinated and allowed to get out and about again has given us a boost, and sent our minds thinking to those days when a sort of normality can return. And when the mood for humour will be back in us again.
So the next April 1 Thursday that the Advertiser will come out on is in 2027. Hopefully by then we will be living in a world where we have regained the ability to laugh, to shake off anxiety, to exist in a place that has learned the lessons of the Great Pandemic of 2020-2021 and to have created a better and more empathetic society everywhere.