• April 4, 2020

FLASHBACK: If you believe that ... - Odessa American: Celinda Hawkins

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FLASHBACK: If you believe that ...

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Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2014 8:15 am

Last week I heard the illustrious infamous water park known as “Water Wonderland” had a benevolent buyer and someone with deep pockets who could take on the project to renovate and revamp the water park.

Once an oasis in the desert, Water Wonderland was loved by many — especially water-starved West Texans.

They are going to redo the snack bar, redo the bumper boats and rebuild the dilapidated weather-worn, graffitied-buildings that apparently have become a popular place for vandals to destroy.

Anyway, the newly remodeled water park will be a jewel along Interstate 20 and is set to be open for business June 1. It will be a tourist stop landscaped to the hilt, with a juice bar, a bar, a restaurant and plenty of wet activities like a new improved giant water slide and a bigger, better, badder wave pool.

Yes, in two months these crews plan to embark on the first phase of renovations, thanks to the deep pockets of the new property owners and some vision. And they are going to scramble to get at least part of the place open for summer.

So get ready to dive in and get wet — Water Wonderland is back.

Oh, wait a minute. If you believe that, I’ve got some April Fools!

I’m just getting everyone ready for Tuesday, April 1, considered one of the most light-hearted levity filled-days of the year.

When you search for the origin of April Fools Day or All Fools Day, several explanations pop up. Many of them date back to the 12th, 16th and 18th centuries and have to do with the calendar and or edicts from the sitting Pope at the time.

I’m going to go with Joseph Boskin’s version since he was an esteemed professor at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, around 272 A.D., when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.

"In a way," explained Prof. Boskin, "it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor."

This explanation was brought to the public's attention in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they'd been victims of an April Fools' joke themselves.

D’oh!, as Homer Simpson would say. Foiled again.

Over the years, there have been some world class pranks pulled off all in the name of April Fools Day.

The number one hoax perpetrated on naïve April Fools victims would have to the the great Swiss Spaghetti Harvest of 1957 when the BBC news show Panorama announced that Swiss farmers were indeed enjoying a bumper crop and that the spaghetti weevil had been eradicated. This prompted a slew of calls, with most folks asking how they could grow their own spaghetti.

Apparently, the Swiss love April Fools Day. In 1962 they pulled a good one when a TV station had an announcer tell viewers that thanks to technology viewers could convert their black and white TV sets to color by putting nylon or a stocking over the screen. Thousands were suckered in to that one. Swiss TV didn’t go color until 1970.

Here’s one pulled off just 22 years ago by National Public Radio. Legend has it that during the April 1, 1992, broadcast of “Talk of the Nation,” it was announced that maligned former President Richard M. Nixon was running for president again. “I didn’t do anything wrong and I won’t do it again.”

I second that, Dick. Neither did I.

April Fools ...

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