April Fool’s Day is here, and it’s reminding me of that Hans Christian Anderson tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Two swindlers come to town, posing as weavers, promising to make the most lavish clothing for the emperor. But oh, these magnificent clothes are special, invisible to anyone stupid or incompetent. Not wanting to appear foolish, the emperor and all his associates pretend they can see the garments, nodding along until the emperor is strutting down the public street, butt naked for all the people to see. It’s not until a little boy blurts out, “He’s wearing nothing at all!” that they all admit they’ve been duped. Surrounded by yes-men, the emperor is left naked and embarrassed. Do you see what happens when everyone tries too hard not to look like a fool?
A while back, I read a story someone posted about their experience working at a 5-star hotel. The concierge would welcome guests with this fancy sangria and sprigs of mint from his garden. Sometimes, he’d have fresh lemon slices from his tree. He’d wow the guests with the lavish, delicious drink and fantastic stories about his garden. Only, there was no garden. The mint and lemon came from the nearest grocery store, and the sangria was the cheapest boxed wine they could find. But, the guests never knew better. They literally ate it up. It’s a pretty harmless trick, a small deception to make wealthy people feel special. And, without a certain palette, who can blame them for being fooled? Not everyone who stays at a 5-star place is a sommelier.
“There are two ways to be fooled,” the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said. “One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
What happened when the boy pointed out that the emperor was naked? Well, in the official version, nothing. The emperor doubles down and continues his parade, chin higher than ever. Initially, in an earlier draft, Anderson ended the story without lifting the spell at all. The little boy never spoke up, and all the townspeople agreed to nod along and watch their shivering, idiot emperor strut around town, never the wiser, and that’s how the story ended.
We can’t be experts on everything, which means inevitably, we’re all a little foolish sometimes.
It’s maybe mildly embarrassing to believe cheap wine tastes very expensive if that’s the circle you run in and the kind of thing you care about. If you’re not afraid to be the fool every now and then, you could laugh it off and say, “Guess I like the cheap stuff!” But, what would be infinitely more embarrassing would be to be shown the cheap box of wine and insist, “They must have mislabeled it because my taste is perfect,” or, “How dare you, I will sue!” or, “There actually is no wine, it’s all a conspiracy, grapes aren’t even real!” These are the mental gymnastics some foolish people resort to. Folks will dig themselves an absurd little hole rather than admit they were fooled.
We can’t be experts on everything, which means inevitably, we’re all a little foolish sometimes. Best not to advertise it. In the words of Mark Twain, “Better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Watch out for pranksters, and have a wonderful weekend.
Game on! Bethany Lutheran College baseball will host UMN Morris starting at 3 p.m., and St. Peter Varsity Softball will take on Belle Plaine at the Jefferson Fields in St. Peter, beginning at 4 p.m. Catch Mankato West Softball vs. Orono at 4:30 p.m. at Mankato West. Stop by Atlantis Hobby from 6-9 p.m. to play the new trading card game, Metazoo, or head to Pulp Comics and Games at 7 p.m. for the $11 entry Modern Friday Night Magic.
The 410 Project will host an opening reception for Hend Al-Mansour’s exhibition from 7-9 p.m. “Portraits of the Margins” includes prints and paintings of Arab American Women. Style & Design Co. on Hoffman Road in Mankato will celebrate their Grand Opening from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Check out the store, enjoy refreshments and shop the adorable inventory.
High Strung will perform classic pop from 6-8:30 p.m. at Indian Island Winery, and Chankaska Creek will host Ted Hajnasiewicz from 6-8:45 p.m. as part of their unWINED Music Series. Spoon Cherries will perform 7-10 p.m. at the WOW! Zone, and you can catch Smokin’ Joe with Moonlit Mushroom & Moonshine Sax beginning at 8:30 p.m. at the What’s Up Lounge. The cover is $10 for this 21+ show.
Enjoy a Saturday of laughs and live music! We’ve got the Jamboyz performing from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Indian Island Winery, and Art Vandalay will be at Chankaska Creek from 6-8:45 p.m. Stick around for Comedy Uncorked, starting at 8 p.m. and featuring stand-up comics from around the country. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Seating starts at 7 p.m., and S&B BBQ will be available for purchase. The Angry Waters CD Release Party will be at the What’s Up Lounge beginning at 8 p.m. The cover is $10 and includes the new album. Catch The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 at Bethany Lutheran College’s Sigurd K. Lee Theater beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available here. Finally, comedian Kevin Craft will be at the Blue Moon Bar and Grill from 9-11 p.m. Seating is limited for this adults-only show.
MSU-Mankato Softball will host Wayne State at the Wiecking Center beginning at noon and 2 p.m. Bethany Lutheran College baseball will take on Gustavus from 1-4 p.m., then 3-6 p.m. The Choir of Christ Chapel and The Lucia Singers will perform at Christ Chapel in St. Peter from 2-4 p.m. Stay in town to catch Laura Karels at Patrick’s on Third from 4-7 p.m. as part of their Sunday Music Series.
Added Value: Prank Ideas
Perhaps this April Fool’s Day, you want to be a prankster. Here’s a link to some great pranks to get you started. Enjoy!
Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.