The first day in April has been labeled as a Fool's Day. It is a day when family and friends play practical jokes on each other; some are mild and innocent, some can be severe.
I seldom fall for any of it. The only "semi" cruel joke someone played on me was once at work, ages ago. I was around 23 at that time and was employed at a laboratory in Sweden. Young and insecure, I was terrified of making a mistake. The PhD student I was working for at that time, switched around some tubes that I was incubating on a shaker, without my knowledge. My tubes were capped tightly and contained a very precious sample. When incubation was completed after one hour, I was shocked to find the tubes empty and the liquid all leaked out. I remember the disbelieve, as the cap was still tightly on. Logically, it made really no sense that the sample should have leaked. Of course, once you are stressed, all the logic goes out of the window. With a heavy heart I found the PhD student whose sample I lost and explained to her what happened. She was almost on the floor laughing within moments after I finished, shouting "April's Fools Day!!" Although extremely relieved, I was doing my best to hide the complete frustration over such a cruel joke. Well, I guess I had no sense of humour. Although today this makes for a good story and indeed makes me laugh.
In Scandinavia, it is also common that newspapers and news broadcasts on television include strange news clips or articles, but sometimes it is difficult to spot which piece of news is the fake one.
I recall one year in the 80's a report on the Swedish television news regarding a fake currency being in circulation. It was concerning the hundred kronor bills of that time. The design from the beginning of that decade depicted a ship on the back of the banknote. The news anchor informed us that any banknote where the sails were down, was fake. The genuine bill displayed the ship under full sail. I remember how all of us in my family immediately checked our wallets, only to conclude that all the bills in our possession were fake. I even recall the discussion we had about what to do and who to contact, although our concern was not particularly serious.
It was only the day after in school that I discovered that this was a practical joke played on the Swedes by the media. All the genuine banknotes were depicted with the sails down.
Happy 1st April everyone, may you stay safe from practical jokes!