Pirate Captain of the Ship o' Fools

Ah, April Fool's Day! Growing up, I loved this day right next to orthodontia visits, dodgeball, and three-bean-salad day at the cafeteria.

Which is to say, not so much.

The Pop, however, was made for this day. It was the one day out of the year he could bewilder, beguile, and make people leap out of their skins-- and it was all nationally-sanctioned.

I just wish he'd have spread it around a little.

As an only child-- and with a mother who hadn't been officially amused since 1968-- the concentration of Dad's April Fool's efforts fell quite naturally on Yours Truly.

And the Pop-- a man who has never easily parted with money--- supported the idea behind this holiday so much during my formative years, he was even moved to make some minor investments:

Joy buzzer.

When my father would ask to shake my hand randomly before school, I eventually learned fear...

Sorta like Pavlov's dogs.

I'm just glad the Pop worked at a general hospital and not a psychiatric one, or I suspect the electro-shock therapy machines might have also been borrowed for upgraded April Fool's Day fun. ("Hmmm.. I wonder if I can increase the charge on this joy buzzer...")

Melted ice cream on stick.

Coming down for breakfast, I knew to question why this item would be in the kitchen, on the floor, at six in the morning. It was simply a case of human nature. If spilled, Grampa (a firm believer in the two-second rule) would have tried to eat it, anyway. The answer was not that Mom was having an affair with the local Good Humor Man. Or that Grampa developed sudden germophobia.

Whoopie cushion.

A defect in the Pop's example of this Joke Store Classic made the item become an instant, over-glamorized drink coaster. (One point goes to Jenn!)

Fly in ice.

Why would there be ice--fly-filled or no-- in my morning orange juice? Again, time of day is key to April Fool's prank success. And impatience is a detriment to pranks played on eight-year-olds developing critical thinking skills. I was more concerned, not about the prank, but that the fly was a real one that Dad had used for the prank. In my house, you never could be sure.

Peanut Brittle Can.
I no longer like peanut brittle and I think this is why. I'm sure you know this joke. You offer someone candy, but when they open the tin, spring snakes pop out. Now, I was a nervous kid anyway (I bet you're starting to understand why). So the first time, I admit, I did leap high enough to pass the Space Shuttle on its latest mission.

Unfortunately for the Pop, he banked on my having a short memory for this trick, and tried it on me several times. Maybe it was more costly than the other pranks, and he wanted to get his money's worth, I don't know.

But at age five, snakes only really have to leap out at you once instead of sweet, sweet brittle, before the whole scene's emblazoned on your memory like a Tweety-bird tattoo.

Random Prank-a-Rama
Other stunts were of a verbal nature. Ones like, "Look how much it snowed last night!" and I'd peer out to see golden daffodils bobbing cheerfully in the yard.

Or, "Hey, Jenn, you can go back to bed-- school's closed today."



So I have to say, even as an adult, I look in my email on April Fool's Day with some hesitation. He's been quiet for years, yes, but I really don't think that means anything.

I think he's just biding his time, waiting for the right moment.

I haven't seen anything questionable yet... But it's early. So like every year, I am lashing myself to the metaphorical mast.

This is one Ship of Fools that's already set sail, my friends!

Do you have any practical jokers in your family? Or are you the practical joker? (I bet you are... It's you, fess up!) :)



Doson said...

Happy April Fool
I had a bad day on 1st April..
It started from 12:01 am..

Did I fool you

Jenn Thorson said...

Dosox- Only that I was going to extend you my sympathies! :)

Margo said...

my husband is a big joker, but he always forgets April fools day. I remember, but am not skilled at pulling things off... I'm so ridiculously pleased with myself I can't keep a straight face. I had like - 15 comment spams this am... somebody's having fun. the day has always put me on edge too :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Margo- I was noticing folks on Twitter saying they, too, have had TONS of comment spam today. Between that and the virus everyone's been talking about, it could be an interesting day. :)

Da Old Man said...

Oh, I truly feel your pain. I dislike this faux Holiday with a passion usually reserved for liver and brussel sprouts.

Jenn Thorson said...

Da Old Man- And it's your BIRTHDAY (Happy b-day, by the way) just to compound the pain. I am so, so sorry.

Shawn said...

I've never been Joy-BUZZED. What exactly does it feel like?

Jenn Thorson said...

Shawn- Ah, there is no joy in it, my friend! It is misnamed. It should be called Agi-buzzed. It's like trying to shake hands with a giant angry horsefly.

Melanie said...

Your pop sounds a lot like my granddad. Yeah, the snake in a can is classic. How about the recored manic laughter coming from seemingly nowhere?

I have to go now and continue the family tradition. I may tell my parents I'm expecting or convince my husband I've won the lottery.

Jenn Thorson said...

Melanie- Ah, the Pop didn't have that canned laughter-- but he DID once put a respirator-styled breathing apparatus in one of our front bushes at Halloween.

Scared the bejeebers out of all the kiddies trick-or-treating. :)

Good luck with your practical joke for today! :) Can you work up a good Lottery glee?

ReformingGeek said...

I think I might have been even more warped had I had your father!

I was also pretty easy to fool so I was a prime target (still am)!

Jenn Thorson said...

ReformingGeek- Oh, I think you'd have learned that, even if you were really shocked, to not show any weakness. These pranksters, they can smell fear. :)

Peggy said...

Awwww, your Dad sounds like a cutie!

Tiggy said...

Uh, I hate April Fool's day. Mainly because my Dad was also a joker and I fell for it every time.

However, I do like three-bean salad.

Jenn Thorson said...

Peggy- He's a funny guy. It's a bit like being the daughter of Clark Griswold. :)

Tiggy- Heh- if I'd known, I would have gotten you some for your bloggiversary today.

lisleman said...

thanks for that memory jogging post.
Whoopie cushion - check
Fake ice with fly - check
One favorite that you didn't mention is the fake vomit that looked real on the carpet. We had a dog so the dog was an unwilling player in the prank.


Tina said...

I think my whole blog is a practical joke. I just infiltrated a meeting with secessionists for fun.

Nice blog.

Jenn Thorson said...

Lisleman- You know, I was trying to think earlier whether fake vomit was ever involved. I only have a vague sense of it (probably blocked it out!) but didn't have enough info to confirm. :)

Tina- Heh, I bet that was an interesting time! :)

Jonny's Mommy said...

My concern is that the big joke might be this: Jen, I'm in the hospital, I don't have much time -- and right before you pass out: "April Fools!"

You have my permission to slap your father then. :-)

My dad was the practical joker too. He used to put a button with rubber bands wrapped around in an envelope and when you opened the envelope the rubber band would fly out and leave you screaming. That was a good one. The first 20 times or so.

Margo said...

Are you there? Just checking in to be sure you weren't traumatized by anything that might have happened yesterday :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Jonny's Mommy- Well, amusingly I DID get email from him yesterday-- but it was wholly unrelated to April Fool's-- he forgot! Which was as much of a relief as anything. But still... I was braced.

Margo- Heh, I'm fine, thanks! :) I made it though safely-- hope you did, too.

Chaotically Calm said...

Ha-ha your dad sounds like fun....granted it was at your expense but what's a prank without a victim. You have to drum up a way to get him back.

Charlie said...

You know, it's not really three-bean-salad day you have to worry about. It's the day after three-bean-salad day that's most dangerous. Unless your cafeteria classmates were much more quickly digesting than mine.

And for the record, I was always way too gullible for my old man's April Fool's day tricks, too. At least Pavlov's dogs got to eat when they heard the bell. All I got was disappointed, tricked, or a bunch of plush snakes in the kisser. Not cool.

jay said...

I had my brothers when I was young - they were both older than me so I was naturally the main target of any practical jokes, but the main trickster in our family was Uncle Jack. Unlike your Pop, he was just plain mean, and didn't think a trick or a joke or a tease had worked properly unless the recipient ended up in tears.

Sounds like your childhood around Pop was very trying ... but not too horrible. LOL!

Jenn Thorson said...

Chaotically Calm- Oh, now that I'm an adult I've managed to slip in little revenges for stuff. Like when I was a kid and we'd be driving somewhere and he'd say, "Jenn, we're lost! Where are we? You have to get us home!" And, of course, I'd cry and cry because I was a kid and had no sense of direction. NOW when he comes to visit and has no idea where we are, I say, "Dad-- where are we? We're lost! Navigate us home!" HAHAHAH.

Charlie- Our three-bean salad never made it to the digesting part... it was mandatory we took it, but not that we ate it. It would sit in a giant three-bean clump in the various waste bins. :) Hope your April Fool's this year was snake-in-the-kisser free. :)

Jay- Uncle Jack sounds like my Grandpa (I think there's one of those in every family...) That one relative who thinks it's hysterical to make kids cry.