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From the publisher's desk 3/27/12

I'm feeling a bit foolish right now
by Keith Whitson

Did you hear about the latest plans for Erwin’s railroad overpass project? Apparently the state is looking at digging a tunnel for cars to go under the tracks instead of over. Now before you go and spread that news, let me just follow it up with the words “April Fool.” No, I haven’t heard plans of a tunnel but we may hear statements like that and much more this Sunday as we welcome the month of April and the observance of April Fool’s Day on the first. It seems the origin of the day is uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it
stems from the adoption of a new calendar. Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year’s Day on or around April 1. In medieval times, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new calendar called for New Year’s Day to be celebrated Jan. 1. That year, France adopted the reformed calendar and shifted New Year’s day to Jan. 1. According to a popular explanation, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on “fool’s errands” or trying to trick them into believing something false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe. Over the years I have fallen prey to many pranks myself. Being the gullible one, I always wanted to believe everyone was truthful. Often times in elementary school I would repeatedly fall for the line of “Your shoe is untied” or “You have something crawling on your back.” How many times in one day could I fall for the same line over and over? Suppose one of those times it was the truth? I didn’t want to ignore a spider on my back.

If you follow my column every week you may recognize a bit of humor from time to time. Although
I am a serious person, I love nothing better than humor and wit. I think it is a mental exercise for the
mind and the soul.

Over the years I have had a few friends that I could click with on that level. We seemed to be competing with each other on coming up with quick one-liners. It was a good challenge of alertness.
In the newspaper business, we have to be careful of what we print. You trust us to be accurate
and bring you the facts. However, over the years many newspapers have taken advantage of pranking their readers. One newspaper announced that i-Pads had been released to gorillas. The gorillas were amazed by the devices and quickly learned to operate them. They were reported as treating them like babies.

For the remainder of this column please pick up the March 27th edition of The Erwin Record.