Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be born on April 1st? Lee Eustace gives his verdict on life as an April Fool’s baby. It's a hard life you know...
For those who believe in predestination - those who feel that free will is nothing but a translucent concept - the mark of entering this world on April Fool’s day must be considered an insult.
For me, it’s little more than a quirk; a tried and trusted method of ‘breaking the ice’, even more so than placing a polar bear on a weighing scales, especially when you can couple being born on April Fool’s day with entering the world three weeks prematurely on Good Friday. Some might say that I know how to make an entrance.
Not everybody knew how to make an entrance however, on that April Fool’s day of ninety four, especially to the maternity ward of the Coombe Hospital. My Dad had the distinct misfortune of having to ring friends and relatives with the news that his first born had not only arrived three weeks early, but had also arrived on April Fools, a day renowned for practical jokes. *Cue the empty maternity ward*.
It wasn’t all bad however, being premature and weighing a grand total of 5 pounds, I had the warmth of my incubator to replace the warmth of human compassion; the customary laughter and jokes of the waiting room and maternity ward were replaced by the soft, rhythmic hum of the fluorescent lights.
My dad also managed to dodge the distinctly Irish tradition of ‘wetting the baby’s head’, as the pubs were closed so all of the barmen could go to mass and queue for hours afterwards to get fish and chips. Twenty-one years, many a head wetting and a few fish Fridays since, the story of being born on April Fool’s day is one which commands a smile in any given company.
In truth, the April Fool’s tradition in Ireland is one of mild practical jokes and predictable media hoaxes. Being an April Fool’s baby, one has to endure more than just the customary birthday bashings; there are of course, the empty cards, the ‘forgotten presents’ and the overly rehearsed practical jokes.
The majority of April Fool’s babies also have to live with the knowledge that nine months previous, in July, the height of summer, their parents were most likely somewhere on the Costa del Sol, sipping Sangria and showcasing the latest swimwear from Pennies. And you wondered why you look like a Spanish waiter and have nothing in common with your dad. April Fools!