April Fool’s is one of those days when New Orleanians are reminded just how different we are from the rest of the country.
For example, if you lived in Dallas and your neighbor wanted to prank you this morning, she might text to say a stranger just peed on your porch. Appalled by such uncivilized behavior, you’d no doubt spit out your coffee, call the police (check your hair) and, then, rush home to Clorox the exterior of your entire house.
That prank wouldn’t work in New Orleans. Nine million tourists come through here each year and at least half of them pee on our stoops (the other 4.5 million ask us to “throw something, mister”).
To prank a New Orleanian today, you have to throw us something … normal.
Tell us that we can recycle glass. Tell us the streetlight outside our house has been fixed and we’ll stop whatever we’re doing — eating crawfish, making groceries, giving birth — to run outside and witness this rare close encounter with a government of the functioning kind.
That might seem strange to people who live elsewhere in America, but, you see, in New Orleans, the normal IS strange. And the strange is normal.
Everyday is April Fool’s Day around here.
And that’s a good thing.
Now, I’m not talking about pranks. When we live in a world where Kim Jong-Un plays basketball with Dennis Rodman, a country that is overrun with Kardashians and a city where Tujague’s could become a t-shirt shop, do we really need any more pranks? I think not.
But we do need a little more foolishness. The kind that mixes the innocence of a child with the wisdom of one who has lived, lived, lived. It’s a foolishness that is abundant in New Orleans.
And April Fool’s seems like a perfect day to share some of our abundance with the rest of the country. To let America stir a little New Orleans strange into its normal.
Imagine if all those poor souls sitting in rush-hour traffic in LA were to open their car doors this morning, step outside and second line into work. I bet they’d get there faster.
Imagine if a grumpy farmer in Oklahoma jumped down from his tractor this afternoon … and sprinkled glitter all over his cows. He just might feel better. I know his cows would.
Imagine — just imagine — if New Yorkers riding the C-train this afternoon turned to each other and asked, “How are you doing?”
And meant it.
It could happen.
Now, while the rest of the world is trying on some of our strange, we in New Orleans ought to take this day to bring a little normal into our life. Let’s start by pouring our coffee and reading the Monday Times-Picayune.
Brett Will Taylor is a southern Shaman who writes Love NOLA weekly for NolaVie.
Visit his site at ashamansjourney.net or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.