Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Day of Fooling

Maybe we need comic relief more than ever and maybe mischief is what passes for comedy to some. But this is my blog and so it's my plea to seriously not fool around on this April Fool's.

I know. Bummer. Tomorrow is a sanctioned day for pranks. I like clever humor, but was never fond of the sort April first brings.
Blame it on my first memory of this thing we call April Fools’ Day.

I had just turned five, walking hand in hand with my father. He said that today it is all right to lie. I asked why. He didn’t explain, but said, “Watch me.”

We were approaching our apartment building, where we lived on the second floor. The first floor apartment directly below us was the home of my best friend. Every apartment had back and front porches, and we played on either. That April first, my best friend (who was four at the time) was standing on her front porch and waving to us enthusiastically.

“What happened to your face?” my father said to her, his face painted with a horrified expression.
“What?” she said.
“Oh, dear girl, this is terrible!” my father said. “We have to take you to the doctor right away!”
I was baffled. I squinted to see better. My friend was shaking.
“What is it, Abba?” I whispered.  
“Her face! It’s bright green!”
My friend clutched her face and burst into tears. She ran inside.
“See?” my father said to me. “This is April Fools’.”

My father was a gentle and kind person. I viewed him as the voice of truth. This was very confusing. I had seen no green or any other unnatural color on my friend’s face. I tried to absorb what just happened. I rubbed my eyes as if that would fix my vision.

Then I started to cry. If her face was bright green and my eyesight was failing, April Fools’ was about ill health and possible imminent blindness. A reasonable conclusion under the circumstances.

In the years since I have found most pranks to contain some element of cruelty. Maybe this is a residual taste from that one long ago. Ten years later, my friend told me she didn’t remember this at all. No harm done except that, well, I don’t like it. So there.

Take it easy, everyone. Especially on the young’uns. Especially now.


Vijaya said...

Aw, Mirka. Your dad's "watch me" is priceless though :) We got our little niece to say "I'm a baby goat" because we gave her two choices--baby boy or baby goat--and she knew she wasn't a baby boy, so baby goat it was :)

Kelly Hashway said...

Yeah, this April Fools’ has the potential to be awful. We should tread carefully.

Evelyn said...

I don't remember any specifics, but I've always enjoyed April Fool's Day. The jokes I experienced must have been just lighthearted, fun ones. I actually wrote an April Fool's rebus story that was published in Ladybug. It was about a kid who went around to his family members saying, "Eek! There's a mouse!" and, of course, his mom, at the computer, said, "Sure, it's how I get around on the computer." :)

Mirka Breen said...

I like clever verbal humor that calls on intelligence. I think your story fits that. :D
I don't care for pranks. These involve putting folks in stressful/demeaning situations and enjoying their reactions. Way too much of that has attached itself to April Fools.

We need less, a whole lot less of that.

Janie Junebug said...

I do not like pranks and don't care for April 1st. It is Willy Dunne Woofers birthday, which he refuses to celebrate. Yes, to me, April 1 is about unhappiness.


Mirka Breen said...

Ha! That's the second person I know of whose BD is on April first. I'd still celebrate, but for real. No foolin'

Jenni said...

I actually like April Fool's. My grandfather was a huge fan, and his jokes were always in good fun. It was hard to take him seriously, because you could always hear him chuckling in the background. My sister did get him once on April Fool's, but he never admitted it.

My 17 yo son now carries on the tradition.It has brought some much needed laughter to our home, especially right now. And I think I may binge watch some Office episodes where Jim pranks Dwight today.

But I agree, it shouldn't be at anyone's expense.

Sherry Ellis said...

I'm not much of a prankster or joker, so April Fools is rather uneventful for me.

Hope you are well!

MirkaK said...

I wouldn't have found your father's April Fools' Day stunt funny either. Like you, I probably would have had a literal reaction. I have no recollection of my father ever saying anything about this day or playing any tricks on us. In some ways, that seems sad to me, but I also remember that he was constantly working and probably didn't have time for pranks. Maybe he did as a child in Poland, where it's been a custom for centuries.