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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poisson d'Avril.....

....as they say in French...literally, "April Fish."   If the Wikipedia article on the history of April Fool's is to be believed, the French tradition is one of attempting to attach a paper fish onto someone's back without their notice. 

   I've not done a lot of research, and the list of historical pranks played was lengthy.  Given what day it is, I also do not grant much credence to the statement at the top of the Wiki article claiming that said article was about to be removed.  Such is the nature of this day.

   Normally, one should probably believe less than a third of what appears on the internet.  Today--I'd slice that allowance in half, at least.  That's not to say I have a problem with April Fool's Day.  Au contraire, it has always ranked among my favorite days of the year!  I've played some fine pranks myself, and had others played on me.

   One of the most classic to which I ever fell victim was shortly after I had graduated from high school, and was beginning the process of job-hunting.  I came home from an errand one day to find a message from my dad, instructing me to call such-and-such a number and ask for a Mr. Lamb, regarding an interview.  Great!  I was all excited, and dialed the number dad had written down.

   At the time, I was not even paying attention to what day it was, so I did not immediately tumble to the nature of the joke when the phone was answered, "American Wool Growers Association."   I dutifully (and innocently) asked to speak to "Mr. Lamb."   At this point, I'm sure the gal on the other end of the phone thought that I was a prank caller.  In a way, I was an unwitting perpetrator: dear ol'  Dad had masterminded this one into a double-edged gag!

   After learning that I must have dialed wrong, and that there was no such person at that number, I rang off, and went in search of my father.  Somehow or another, it still had not dawned on me that it was April 1st.  I proceeded to chastise my father for writing down the number wrong, and costing me a possible job lead.  He began to snicker, then burst out laughing.  I was not so amused.  Finally, he managed to say, "April Fool!"  It was not until that point that I realized I had been the victim of a deliberate prank.  Well done, Daddy-O! 

   Coming from prankster stock, I took on a few of my own, but my childish versions were not always so amusing to my parents.  There was the year I dumped the contents of the sugar bowl back into the canister, and substituted salt.  Mom did not enjoy her first sip of coffee.  I had barely been able to contain myself, waiting for the moment, and when she made that awful face, I screeched "April Fool!" amidst howls of laughter.  Mother granted the joke, but proceeded to point out that jokes of that nature are likely to cause other problems, such as what if she had been going to make cookies?  The whole batch would have gone to waste.  (Both my parents were Yankee born and bred--I was raised with a very high 'waste-consciousness.')  At age 8, though, that had not occurred to me.

   I have to be the practical joker.  I'm no good at spoken jokes/falsifications.  I simply do not have a poker face, and cannot keep from cracking up and giving myself away.  The only way I can pull off a spoken prank is over the phone or by writing it out via E-mail, Instant Message, or Text message.  Mind you, I'm not a 'texter'--I don't even own a cell phone--but I can text my daughters via Yahoo's instant message interface.  Hmmm... what prank can I pull on them today???

  The best prank I've pulled on anyone dates back into my kids' very young years.  I think my eldest was perhaps in 1st or 2nd grade; the younger was still pre-school-age.  I called them out for breakfast one morning, and they sat down to their kiddie-sized table to find 'breakfast' fully laid out for them.  Fried eggs, toast, and a banana.  All made from construction paper.  They said, 'Hey!' then started to giggle.  They were too young to have paid attention to the fact that there had been no cooking sounds or smells wafting through the house at the time I called them to come eat.

  I've had fun with April Fool's Day all my life--I hope you have as well.  Feel free to add your favorite joke or gag to the comments, whether you were the victim or the perpetrator...it's all good.



  1. I hate practical jokes! But I did like the one you played on your kids. If anyone in my family pranked me, they would not like to face the my wrath! xo

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