A lesson learned

I’m not a fan of trying to pull pranks on April Fool’s Day. For one thing, the world acts like that’s the only day you’re allowed to pull a prank, so everyone has his or her guard up.

If I’m going to prank you, you’re not going to see it coming. That is the essence of a great prank.

I’ve pulled some pretty good pranks in my lifetime. Among the best was when we “soaped” the hardwood floors of the “junior-senior hallway” of my high school -- North Tama County High School -- as our senior prank.

Another classic was when we got a “special request chit” signed for one of my boot camp shipmates to “carry on without a clue.” Unfortunately, the poor guy was so clueless he didn’t realize he’d been pranked. The sidewalk inspectors who eventually came across it thought it was hilarious, though.

But Seaman Recruit Ross has a lesson to teach others, if only they’ll take the time to absorb it. All too often, we’re too sure of what we see; too sure of what we know. So, we go into autopilot mode and forget to use our common sense and brains for what God intended.

The lesson was exemplified again yesterday when I posted a link I found back on April 1. That day, the blog TheTVAddict.com posted a prank article that suggested Netflix would be reviving the cult classic sci-fi TV series, “Firefly.”

Knowing the show was wildly popular with many of my friends, I posted the link. It came with the following article:

Giving new meaning to the phrase “Can’t stop the signal,” comes the following jaw-dropper.

Fresh off their landmark deal to secure the rights to “House of Cards,” the much-anticipated television series and political thriller from Executive Producer David Fincher and Kevin Spacey, comes the news that Netflix has given the go-ahead to make Nathan Fillion’s dream a reality.

“Firefly” will soar again!

“Continuing our tradition of breaking new ground, Netflix is proud to announce that we have reached a deal with 20th Century Fox Television to produce 26 new episodes of Joss Whedon’s critically-acclaimed series ‘Firefly,’” said Netflix Senior VP of Development Lirpa Sloof in a statement released today. “Gripping, serialized one-hour dramas have become an integral aspect of the Netflix experience over the years and ‘Firefly,’ thanks to Joss Whedon’s unique vision and his remarkable group of actors, goes a long way in helping to further our commitment to bringing our audience the best entertainment Hollywood has to offer.”

According to Sloof, Whedon, alongside brother Jed, Maurissa Tancharoen and Jane Espenson have been quietly working on scripts and, as a result, will be ready to begin production once work finishes on his current project, “The Avengers.”

Lirpa Sloof? That’s “April Fools” spelled backward. But, “The Avengers” a current project? What is this, 2012? Surely, that should have been a clue that the story was at the very least a hoax.

But there was more. At the end of the article, as is frequently the case on many “teaser” websites, there was a link to the “official press release.” Here it is ...

[insert April Fool’s here]

Of course, several folks immediately shared the link to the article, believing it to be entirely true. I know for a fact only one of them had actually read the article. But, it got passed along and passed along for nearly an hour before I just didn’t have the heart to let it go on any longer.

The lesson is pretty clear. But for those of you who are obvious-challenged: READ before you SHARE.