Posted by Jenn Thorson at 6:30 AM Labels: april fool's day, april fools, joy buzzer, practical jokes, whoopee cushion
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:
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.
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.
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!) :)