By Walter Lesczynski

Holidays are often romanticized as Currier and Ives family moments-heading into the woods for that perfect Christmas tree, standing around the kitchen sink eating Manwiches on Thanksgiving, or Uncle Phil blowing off his thumb at the second knuckle on the 4th of July.There is one holiday, however, which is unique on the calendar and that is April Fools’ Day.

No pretense, no magical gift givers, no turkey and no chocolate bunnies.

That glorious day when shamrocks give way to shenanigans, when pretty packages under a tree are replaced with steaming packages on porches.

“I love April Fool’s Day because I’m the master of practical jokes,” said Nick, a junior from Paducah who asked that his last name not be used.

He ‘canceled’ a few classes in the Wallace building Tuesday afternoon.

“What I do is head into a class that hasn’t started, and write that the class is canceled on the board. Since I’m wearing a dress shirt, a lot of people assume I’m from the office and fall for it.”

Unfortunately for his fellow students, he doesn’t limit his nonsense to early April.

Practical jokes are nothing new.

After the first caveman discovered fire, the second one was probably devising a method to ignite his intestinal gas-unwittingly giving rise to the classic frat prank.

It was not until modern times, however, that a holiday around foolishness and goings-on began to take shape.

It is believed that April 1 was originally celebrated as part of vernal equinox.

An early reference to the ‘days of fools’ can even be found in The Canterbury Tales.

Not all hijinks are planned out; some are spur of the moment, and equally effective if somewhat less elaborate.

“I am personally responsible for more wedgies than anyone east of the Mississippi,” boasted Pat Connors, a senior from Lexington.

He explained that there was no need to get crazy for a laugh-the old tricks are often the best tricks.

“Keep it simple,” he advised.

In common with all other holidays, April Fools’ Day is utilized for promotions and free publicity.

In the mid-’90s Burger King offered a left-handed Whopper (the right-hand version would also remain on the menu) and Taco Bell announced that it had inked a deal to purchase the Liberty Bell, renaming it the “Taco Liberty Bell.”

You have to be careful, however, because some pranks backfire, despite forethought and Pavlovian intentions.

“My sister was trying to teach me a lesson on lifting up the toilet seat,” said sophomore Adam Botkins from Cincinnati. “She put Saran wrap over the bowl, and needless to say there was a mess involved.

She should have put more thought into it, because she ended up being the one to clean it up.”

Play safe, but play smart.