April Fool’s, cleverness, and honesty

I slept in this morning, and when I checked my clock, my first thought was that it was somehow pulling an April Fool’s joke on me. Then I realized that technology usually doesn’t make jokes, unless a programmer somewhere decides to be “funny.” This got me thinking about all the times when people try to be funny on April Fool’s Day, and then have to apologize on Facebook two hours later because everyone took them seriously. After that, I thought of all the times in literature when jokes and badly thought out plans go wrong.

Here’s a list of 11 times* that fictional characters tried to be clever and found that secrets don’t make friends.
*Hopefully not directly labeling this list with the books will make this slightly less spoiler-y. Novels and plays are tagged so you can find them if you want to read them.

  1. Guy “forgets” to tell his Fiancée that he’s already married. Fiancée finds out when Wife #1’s lawyer crashes the wedding.
  2. Girl misses own wedding because she goes to the wrong church. Groom marries someone else.
  3. Guy decides to make Girl fall in love with him before breaking her heart, because “girls like that kind of thing” (not a direct quote). Girl breaks Guy’s heart.
  4. Girl doesn’t tell Guy that she has a secret brother staying with her. Guy sees Girl and Brother in the place and time of a murder.
  5. Guy Hannah Montana leads double life and doesn’t tell Girl. Girl swoons over Celebrity.
  6. Girl and Guy keep engagement secret. Guy flirts with other girls. Girl gets accused of being someone else’s mistress.
  7. Guy gets out of jail, inherits fortune, then returns to hometown with a fake name. Sucks for the people who put him in jail.
  8. Girl and Guy keep engagement secret. Guy falls for someone else. Guy also loses fortune. Girl marries someone else.
  9. Guy gets his eloquent Friend to catfish the girl they both like. Girl thinks eloquent letters are sexier than Guy’s face.
  10. Guy creates secret identity so he can flirt with girls. Friend steals Guy’s secret identity to flirt with Guy’s cousin.
  11. Guy keeps marriage secret so Wife can inherit a fortune. Wife leaves and dies, and Guy never knows his Child.

This list wasn’t quite as entertaining as I thought it would be, but I think it’s because the moral of each story is “Don’t lie.” It’s funny, albeit sad, when all the churches in town have the same name and the bride picks the wrong one. It’s satisfying when the innocent convict gives his enemies their comeuppance. But secrets and lies in literature usually end in tears.

Chances are that in real life, people aren’t starting secret relationships on April Fool’s Day. Hopefully they’re not asking shy people on dates that they never intend to go on. The holiday is usually not mean-spirited. All the same, cleverness tends to bite people in the butt. Honesty is usually the best policy.

Note: Yes, I did fall for someone’s “We’re dating!” Facebook post today. That might be indirectly connected to this Facebook post, but that’s not the only reason why I’m anti-April Fool’s Day. I just don’t have the right sense of humor.

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