Believe it or not the tradition and historical roots of April Fool’s Day were not well documented and are thus heavily debated even today. About the only common thread the dozen or so theories of the unofficial holiday’s origin seem to share is that the tradition began somewhere in Europe. Why better records weren’t kept is anyone’s guess but my own theories involve exploding feather-pens and chisels that were purposely loosened to fall apart upon impact.
According to historians it wasn’t until the eighteenth century that detailed references to the tradition began to appear, but even then the practice was already well established throughout much of Europe and regarded as being of great antiquity.
I bring this up because just a few years ago I celebrated the infamous “holiday” the way it (and most days) were meant to be enjoyed: shopping for a motorcycle. More specifically, I purchased and picked up a bike while the rest of the world engaged in harmless pranks.
The bike in question was the direct result of having foolishly parted ways with a low-mileage Yamaha R6 a month prior, which not only left an unsightly gap in my shed’s floor space but also a yearning for performance only magnified by an unseasonably warm late-March. In typical friend of a friend of a friend communication, I discovered that a decade-old Yamaha FZR600 was in need of a new home. It just so happened that I had a pocket-full of green paper also in need of a new home when this news arrived. Sure it wasn’t exactly the R6 that it would attempt to replace, but it was a 600, a Yamaha, and the real kicker was that it was all black (just like the one before it).
I don’t mean to insinuate that the money was literally burning a hole in my pocket but witnesses to the scene testify that there was at least a slight smoldering and distinct curl of smoke emanating from the pocket of my jeans that day. Negotiations were quick and on perhaps the warmest April 1st in Buffalo’s recorded history, I helped the seller load the FZR onto the back of my pickup.
Seemingly no sooner than I had unloaded it, old Mother Nature, the prankster that she is, decided to unleash a blizzard that would keep me (and the rest of the riding population in the area) off our bikes for at least another month and a half. By the time May rolled around, thoughts of that strange 65-degree April Fool’s Day had become almost surreal. So much so, in fact, that I had to occasionally peek into the shed just to confirm that I didn’t just dream the whole thing.
My time with the FZR would prove to be short-lived thanks to a near-endless succession of mechanical failures. In fact, I do regret to report that it is one of few bikes in my endlessly rotating stable that left not only non-running but in pieces once my ability to reassemble it had petered out.
“The best two days of motorcycle-ownership are the day you buy the bike and the day someone else buys it from you.” There are exceptions to this rule, such as if your last name is Rossi or you happen upon a band of biker bunnies.
Some might argue that such a fate is simply the risk involved in buying a bike on April Fool’s Day but if that were the case, I suspect that the seller would probably have liked to enjoy the fruits of his prankster labor. As it turns out, the cash I forked over for the bike had gone to the cost of the legalization process to adopt his girlfriend’s kid- so I’m not entirely sure who the real victim of the story is here.
I kept in touch with the fellow who purchased the bike from me (at a substantial loss I must add which typically accompanies a bike’s degeneration from “running” to “project” status). He reports positively, after having paid a mechanic to assemble and tune it properly. Additionally and for the record, he did not make the purchase on April Fool’s Day.
As for me, the desire to immediately fill the void left by the FZR had fizzled out permanently this time. This was one of few instances in recent memory where the old adage, “the best two days of motorcycle-ownership are the day you buy the bike and the day someone else buys it from you,” had proven perfectly accurate. I would like to tell you more but it seems I’ve blanked out most of the time in between.