I’m usually not opposed to a good prank. I like the guys from the Impractical Jokers television show, have owned at least one whoopie cushion over the years, and used to spend a great deal of time and energy trying to scare the crap out of my wife whenever the opportunity presented itself. I usually prefer it when I’m not the target of this mischief, but think that I do a pretty good job of laughing at my own misfortunes when the situation dictates.
I’ve never been a fan of April Fool’s Day, however. A day devoted to tomfoolery and hoaxes should have a good origin story – a pagan ritual to fool evil spirits or a medieval fable about a jester tricking a king into letting him run off with the royal daughter. Instead there’s a Flemish poem about a foolish noblemen from 1539, something about the Gregorian calendar that doesn’t seem to make sense, and a theory that when Noah mistakenly sent out the dove before the water had completely abated, the date was April First.
It’s an annoyance, a day of deception without any real purpose. Not long ago I heard a very legitimate sounding radio advertisement promoting the grand opening of a clothing optional Chinese Restaurant called Wang’s Palace and I have no idea if it’s a real place or not. I can’t wait until tomorrow when I can go back to believing everything that I see on the news and the internet.
My daughter did not share my feelings. A day that not only tolerated obnoxious behavior but actively encouraged it being one that she had been excited for all week. Upon awaking this morning, the first thing I found was a note on my nightstand. Her handwriting still resembles something a drunk chicken would scratch in the barnyard dirt, but after some decoding and a bit of imagination it was revealed to say : “Happy April Pranks Day. Watch out for all my traps.”
Thankfully she hasn’t seen any of the Home Alone movies and most of her traps turned out to be pretty benign. Before taking the dog out I had to empty crumpled up newspaper from my boots and everybody’s sneakers were filled with crayons. I spent way too long looking for my keys before noticing the giggling from under a nearby table and both my wife and I had the contents of our underwear drawers emptied onto our pillows. She spent close to an hour hiding in the dog’s crate while I pretended not to know where she was.
It makes me a bit nervous about the years to come. She hasn’t developed the sophistication of an evil genius quite yet, but the inherent deviousness is there. All it will take is a little bit of inspiration before we start finding plastic wrapped toilets, taped water nozzles and ice cube trays filled with dish soap. I’m going to be paying a lot closer attention to my surroundings this time next year.