Jill Biden successfully fooled the media and her own staff on an April Fool's Day flight

Apparently, we have an avid—and able—prankster in the White House.

First Lady Jill Biden visited California this week, meeting with farmworkers and support COVID vaccination efforts.

On the flight back to Washington, DC, members of the press and Jill Biden's staff were treated to Dove ice cream bars during the meal service. A flight attendant who was dressed in black with short black hair and a black mask handed out the bars. Her name tag read "Jasmine."

Little did passengers know that the hair was a wig, the name was a ruse, and they didn't recognize the fact that Jill Biden herself had handed them their frozen treats.

A few minutes after handing out the bars, Biden took off the wig, laughed, and said, "April Fool's!"


The First Lady loves a good prank. Once, during her husband's first term as Obama's vice president, she stuffed herself into an overhead before a flight on Air Force Two, surprising the first person to open the bin to stow their luggage.

Biden wrote about that prank in her 2019 memoir, "Where the Light Enters."

"I had arrived at Joint Base Andrews early, coming straight from teaching my classes, and was the first one there," she wrote, "As I boarded Air Force Two, I looked around and had an idea. The overhead bins were small, but I knew if I scrunched up enough, I could cram myself into one."

With the help of a chair, a table, and a Naval aide—as well as some ballet barre classes—she did just that.

"When the first person opened the bin to stow his roller bag, I popped halfway out and screamed, 'Boo!' — though it was hard to get it out through my laughter," Biden wrote.

"Still, my surprise had the intended effect: this poor soul let out a high-pitched shriek and stumbled backward into his seat, a look of utter shock on his face."

Biden grew up in a family of pranksters who reveled in April Fool's Day, so she comes by it naturally. Joe Biden himself has remarked on his wife's traditional celebration of the holiday. In a 2014 interview with Rachel Ray, Biden confessed, "What I worry about when I wake up on April Fool's Day is: 'What in the hell is Jill gonna do this time?' You think I'm joking. I am not joking."

Now she's brought some of that lighthearted fun into the White House as First Lady.

She wrote in her memoir that the White House is "a serious place, with serious people, doing serious work," and that if you aren't careful, all that seriousness can grind you down.

"I've always believed you've got to steal the joyful moments when you can," Biden wrote. "Life is difficult, and if you sit around waiting for fun to show up, you'll find yourself going without it more often than not."

Jill Biden seems determined to bring a special touch to various holidays in her new role, which seems quite befitting her identity as a teacher. On Valentine's Day, her White House lawn decor—oversized conversation hearts with inspiring words like KINDNESS, COURAGE, COMPASSION, and HEALING—and chat with reporters made headlines.

Laughter is healing, and after a year of tragedy and struggle for the nation and the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, we could all use some extra fun and laughter. Thank you, Dr. Biden, for reminding us that serious work doesn't mean we can't enjoy simple, silly joys with our friends and colleagues.

Aging is a weird thing. We all do it—we truly have no choice in the matter. It's literally how time and living things work.

But boy, do we make the process all kinds of complicated. The anti-aging market has created a 58.5 billion-dollar industry, with human beings spending their whole lives getting older spending buttloads of money to pretend like it's not happening.

I'm one of those human beings, by the way, so no judgment here. When I find a product that makes me look as young as I feel inside, I get pretty giddy.

But there's no doubt that our views on aging—and by extension, our perspectives on our own aging bodies—are influenced by popular culture. As we see celebrities in the spotlight who seem to be ageless, we enviously tag them with the hashtag #aginggoals. The goal is to "age well," which ultimately means looking like we're not aging at all. And so we break out the creams and the serums and the microdermabrasion and the injections—even the scalpel, in some cases—to keep the wrinkles, crinkles, bags, and sags at bay.

There's a big, blurry line between having a healthy skincare routine and demonizing normal signs of aging, and we each decide where our own line gets drawn.

This is where Justine Bateman comes in.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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