Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Fools

My mom lives for today. It’s a day when she can try to dupe unsuspecting family members into believing incredulous tales. She tries to base her deceptions on a grain of truth in order to increase plausibility. Her other tactic is to strike early in the morning before her targets become aware that the month of March has passed.

I remember one April first morning when I was in middle school. Mom came into my room to tell me that there wasn’t any point in getting ready for school. When I inquired about this, she informed me that the recent roof construction at the school (the nugget of truth) had gone awry. Debris had smashed into a boiler, causing a terrible explosion that wiped out half of the building. After gleefully telling me the date, she told me that she wanted to fool my dad the same way, so I stayed in bed feigning sleep. Dad had been up for a while, so his reaction was instant shock. Had Mom continued the lie for much longer, I think he would have had time to process the fact that she wouldn’t have access to such information without his knowledge (this was before the Internet had taken off). Instead, he was yet another victim. To fool my much younger sister, all she needed to say was, “Your school blew up last night.”

I think the only time I actually fooled anyone was the year I fooled Dad. That was Mom’s idea as well, though, so I can’t really take credit for it. In our upstairs bathroom, we’d had some trouble with the toilet overflowing periodically, but Dad thought it was fixed. I waited until he came inside from doing something else (activities tend to distract someone from the current date) and flushed the toilet for effect. Then I shouted, “Dad, the toilet’s overflowing!” The man bounded up the stairs, taking three steps with each stride. Mom and I were both up there laughing. Clearly, he didn’t care for the jest, but he let it go.

I haven’t been duped in a while, and I don’t try to dupe anyone else. Still, each year when the day hits, I become a bit wary of any information that comes my way because I’m never quite sure if someone’s trying to take me by surprise. And don’t bother trying to get me this year, Mom. I already know what day it is.

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