It's April 1st, the day when every office jokester and petty prankster thinks up some gags at your expense that they think will be hilarious. Well, not this year, jackass. Here's a guide on how not to fall for anything.

There's nothing wrong with a good joke between friends, of course. But then there's the mercenary you work with who would love nothing more than an excuse to embarrass you, or the annoying acquaintance who gets his/her jollies making you the butt of the joke. Don't get punked by those stupid Ashton Kutcher wannabes. Get them back this year.

Be Prepared

For many of us, we roll along blissfully unaware of what the exact date is. It's just another Friday. It could be the 12th or the 22nd, and you don't really figure out which unless you have to sign a check or something. Well, it isn't just any Friday, it's April Fools Day. Many people get tricked simply because they don't realize that there's going to be an onslaught of pranks. Not this time around. If you're reading this, you have been informed. Use that to your advantage.

Don't Believe Anything

That's right. Not one thing. If your coworker says Judy in accounting died, don't believe her. Even if you ask, "Really?" and she says, "Yes, really!" still don't believe her. This is how you get punked. Just don't buy it. Get on the phone and call Judy yourself and see if she's alive or not. Only after you have verified the facts yourself should you believe anything. So if someone were to turn to me and tell me that Condé Nast bought Jezebel, the first thing I'd do is pick up the phone and call Si Newhouse himself.

Avoid the Internet

The internet is only for two things: porn and lies. Yes, there are so many frauds, hoaxes, and other forms of tomfoolery on the web every goddamn day it would make your head spin. (Did you know, for instance, that there is no such thing as a Nigerian diplomat who wants to give you money?) This is just amplified on April 1st. It's best to just stay away from all of it. Everything from news websites to your friends' Facebook status updates are going to try to pull the wool over your eyes. Don't let them. Just shut off the damn computer and read a book or something.

Don't React

This is the hardest and most important part of the strategy. All people want out of you is a reaction. Don't give it to them. I know this is some pretty basic advice, but it's true. So when stupid Joe at the office tries to pull the fake lottery winner trick on you, don't crack a smile or laugh or freak out or get all incredulous or indignant. Just say, "Mmm hmm," and walk away. Then, as mentioned above, verify the facts on your own. It's better to be a killjoy than a fool.

Play Along

If all else fails and someone does trick you, don't freak out. Don't say, "You got me! That was funny." Rob them of their delight. "I knew it was a joke all along, dumbass. You're the one who was fooled!" It's sort of like waiting for it to snow and then being like, "Look, I made it snow." You didn't really, but you can claim that you did and who's to say you're lying? Sure, it's being a bit of a bad sport, but just do this once and no one will play you for the patsy every again. And that is a happy April Fool's Day.

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