And I’ve got a bridge that used to be across the Erie Canal that I’d like to sell you.

Today, folks, is the day of fools.

April Fools’ Day, they call it.

I’m not sure of its origins or what the real purpose of the day is, but year after year, people trick their friends and colleagues into believing things that ordinary people should never believe.

Here at the Union-Sun & Journal, we used to make a big deal out of April Fools’ Day.

Unfortunately, the super-cool April Fools’ jokes that we used to do were over and done with before I got here.

* We said once that the Big Bridge had been taken out and was moving down stream.

* We said another bridge was being installed to go from Wilson to Toronto.

* A five-year-old bowled a 300, one year.

Now it’s just the news. No foolin’ around.

But sometimes the real news looks like a joke.

For example, today is the 20th anniversary of the last time our state passed its budget on time. No really, I’m not joking.

Members of the IDA and the Niagara County Legislature really are shouting things at each other and speaking ill of one another. One day the Republicans try to oust the chairman of the IDA. Days later she resigns the post, but retains her seat on the board. Just days after that, she’s ousted by those same Republicans who have the help of two local Democrats.

This past weekend, three men each bowled their first 300 game. Three men! Each, I’m told is a good bowler and a fine human being, but three of them bowled perfect games over the weekend. Remember you used to hear about perfect games on a monthly basis, maybe?

“Head of State” just edged out “Bringing Down the House” as the nation’s top-selling movie. The thought that either one of them drew an audience is crazy. Each being the best movie in consecutive weeks is implausible.

Know what’s implausible?

I really wish it were an April Fools’ joke. Or a bad nightmare. But it’s real.

George W. Bush, who many believe to be functionally illiterate, and who certainly lost money at business venture after business venture is in the process of running our country into the ground.

This past November, American voters had the opportunity to spread a message to Bush and remove some of his power by electing Democrats. And what happened? A slew of new elephants got sent to Capitol Hill.

What is this, Bizarro World?

Recent polls say that 70 percent of you support the ongoing war on Iraq. Seven out of 10 of you believe that the biggest threat to our national security is Saddam Hussein.

They say sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Right now I’m inclined to believe it.