In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

April Fool’s Stress

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 1, 2008

An April Fool’s article in today’s New York Times got me thinking about my feeling about practical jokes. Yes, practical jokes can be funny–to the executer and the receiver. But in many cases, it is only the person (or people) perpetrating the joke that ends up laughing. The victim–and I use this word deliberately–feels embarrassed, angry and vulnerable. It takes real talent and sensitivity to execute a practical joke that is funny for both sides of the equation. Most people either don’t have this talent or don’t take the time to figure out how to make it happen. Most prank victims, adults and children alike, will never admit that they were hurt or embarrassed by the prank. This is particularly true in the current climate of “American Idol” reality TV when people are being ridiculed all the time and are supposed to just accept it.

So, if you’re in the mood for an April Fool’s joke today, keep in mind that it’s only funny if both people find it funny, otherwise it’s just hurtful.

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