From the West
By Andrew Hawes — Sr. Warden
In April, you will win the lottery, but the cost of gas is expected to hit $25/gallon...
“April fools!” – we’ve all heard that phrase, probably many times. As a parent of a student who is waiting for college admission decisions, it’s always amused me that they all promise to have decisions out by April 1. I cannot help but wonder how many admissions officers are tempted to post prank admissions letters, and blame it on April fools.
No-one is apparently clear on when this tradition originated, but it’s one that we must normally eschew, as Masons – since hypocrisy and deceit are unknown amongst us, it is hard to justify lying to one’s brothers just for a moment’s amusement. Unfortunately, for the same reason, we find ourselves in a position of being particular vulnerable to people who are willing to take advantage of our good nature – such as the scammers who pretend to be the current Master of a Lodge, and contact the brethren by text message, explaining that they are about to go into a meeting, and asking for a quick assist in picking up some gift cards to help the lodge. “Why of course!” is our natural inclination to respond. We always stand ready to assist a brother in need, it’s part of what makes us Masons – but alas, these horrible people are merely attempting to trick us, and not only on April fools day.
We’ve had a rash of such scam attempts over the past few years. The best way to handle a situation like this is not to start distrusting each other, far from it – it is to use your contact information to call the person who supposedly reached out to you- not on the spoofed number that your text message came from, but their actual published number – and ask them if they really DO need help of some kind.
This will insure that should there actually be a distressed brother in need, you will be able to offer them immediate assistance – but also will protect your good nature from being abused by those who care only for themselves, and will sometimes go to great lengths to try and abuse the good faith that we repose in each other. In short, if you feel the need to buy gift cards to help a brother in the lodge – TALK to them about it first!
April is the first month of the second quarter of the year. One fourth of the year is gone already – time marches inexorably onward – even when March is over! To wrap up my musings for this month, I’ll quote from “Poor Robin’s Almanac” published in 1760:
The First of April some do say
Is set apart for all Fool’s Day
But why the people call it so
Nor I nor them themselves do know
I wish you all a very Happy April, my brethren – No Fooling!