Tuesday, March 21, 2017


April Fools' Day is just around the corner, and if I were smart, I’d stay in bed all day with the covers pulled over my head. You see, even though I consider myself to have decent sense of humor, I’m rarely amused when someone pulls a prank on me.

I guess I’m not the only who’s not crazy about pranks. I watched this couple on TV the other night who, as an April Fools' joke, thought it would be funny to hold a fake wedding, complete with a band, caterer and decorations. Gift-bearing relatives, unaware that the wedding was a sham, flew in from all over the country, and even from as far away as Australia, to attend.

When, at the reception, the bride and groom picked up the wedding cake, which turned out to be nothing but ornately decorated Styrofoam, and flung it into the air, then confessed that the entire wedding had been nothing but an elaborate April Fools' joke, the guests looked as if they were ready to form a lynch mob.

All I can say is that if the fake newlyweds had been MY friends and I’d forked over my hard-earned money for a flight all the way from Australia, I probably would have made them eat their Styrofoam cake.

Back when I was in grade school, I dreaded April Fools' Day because I knew I’d inevitably end up being the victim of some dumb prank. One of the boys’ favorite pranks was to stick a paper with some dumb message on it on the girls’ backs. There was the ever-popular “Kick Me!” and more creative ones such as, “My Bra is Stuffed with Socks.”

I still remember this one boy who gave me a piece of gum that turned my teeth completely black. Then every time I smiled afterwards, everyone would burst out laughing. I couldn’t figure out why until I finally looked into a mirror and saw my stained, toothless-looking mouth. I was horrified.

But that wasn’t as torturous as the red-hot gum a girl gave me the year after. One chew and I felt as if my mouth had been stuffed with an entire crop of jalapeno peppers. Even my eyeballs were sweating.

I thought that once I was out of school, I wouldn’t have to worry about corny April Fools' Day jokes any more, but I soon learned that chewing-gum pranks weren’t limited only to grade-school kids.

When I was 20 and working in an office, one of my co-workers, Sue, passed around some gum on April Fools' Day. Not until all of us began to stampede toward the ladies’ room did she laughingly confess that she’d given us something called Feen-a-Mint laxative gum!

But alas, revenge can be sweet. As the other office girls and I (when we weren’t fighting for the bathroom) secretly gathered to plot devious pranks like putting Super Glue on Sue’s chair or spiking her shampoo with Nair, fate stepped in and punished her for us.

It just so happened that when the gum was being passed around, our boss unexpectedly came into the office and grabbed a couple pieces for herself. Afterwards, when the poor woman finally was able to pry herself away from the bathroom, she fired Sue.

“Am I really fired or is this just an April Fools' joke, too?” Sue asked her.

“Tell you what,” the boss said, “if you chew a few of pieces of that delicious gum of yours right now, you can keep your job.”

We never saw Sue again.

I’ve noticed that pranks have become even more devious over the years. For example, a few years ago, some company came up with very realistic looking but very fake lottery scratch-tickets. Give one to some poor sap, he scratches it and automatically wins something like $100,000.

Then, as the guy is jumping up and down, shouting, “Whoopee!” and “Yahoo! I’m rich!” and hugging everyone in the room, including the cat, you burst out laughing and shout, “April Fool! The ticket is fake!”

I suspect that a high percentage of people who are listed as missing persons are people who once gave fake lottery scratch-tickets to their friends.

So this year on April Fools' Day, I am not going to chew any gum, scratch any lottery tickets, or answer either my phone or the door.

And with my luck, Publisher’s Clearing House will show up on my doorstep with a check for a million dollars.

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