Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Fool for April Fools

             I am a nut for holidays that come on 1st days…January 1st is a favorite: new year…new calendar pages…a fresh new start to a year with endless potential.
             I’m also a nut for April Fool’s Day, when tradition and Hallmark cards give us a pass for being just a little bit mean. I live for this one. The creative in me teams up with the prankster in me. I have to say I’ve done some serious April Foolin’ in my day…
            Like the time I told my dad I was quitting my job to go sing back up for Willie Nelson. (It worked, because Willie had invited my co-host and me to his ranch in Austin for a radio interview and it was all I could talk about for the weeks that followed. My dad was really proud of his girl for rubbing shoulders with a legend, but he was NOT too keen on his daughter being “On the Road Again” with Willie Nelson.)
            Or the time I called my girlfriend (around 11 pm on April Fool’s night) screaming, “Come see! Come see! You’ve gotta come see !! Oh My GOSH he gave me a ring!!! ” Poor Darcy was in tears by the time she arrived. In addition to racing out in her pajamas to “come see” what all the fuss was about, she never liked this guy and was rather sick to her stomach to think I had agreed to marry him. Yes, there was relief when I said “April Fools” but to this day she calls me first thing every April Fool’s morning to remind me I’ll never fool her again and to please refrain from keeping her on my list of folks to fool on this, my favorite holiday.
            Or the time I called my mom from Gulf Shores in my best panic voice, blurting out in a jumbled heap words like emergency room…. college roommate and shark warnings.  They were trying to save Mary Margaret’s leg, and I was not going to be able to make the birthday party she was throwing for me that upcoming weekend as I didn’t know how long I’d be here…I was waiting on the doctor now…yada…yada Poor Mom. Never saw it coming. I’m not sure which part upset her more, but Mom, like others, now just waits for it on April Fool’s day, which led me to create Karlen’s Rules for April Fools ~
            Rule #1 – Don’t let the prank go on too long. Blood pressure, after all, is a very real thing. If you’re going to tell a tale, be ready with the comeback rather quickly. It’s funnier if you haven’t left someone hanging. Leave someone hanging and you may not have that person taking your calls at all on April Fool’s Day anymore (or any day for that matter).
            Rule #2 – The bigger the prank, the fewer times you can prank the same person. I literally have people who won’t take my calls on April Fool’s Day.  Of course, when they call me, I know that whatever feeble attempts they’ll make to get me back, should probably have been saved for any day other than April Fool’s because I’m always on the lookout for their revenge. That’s just part of the fun.
            Rule #3 –Watch out for pranks that can backfire. I once told a boyfriend I was pregnant, never once anticipating for one second this might be a good thing in his eyes … Something about his initial reaction to the set up didn’t feel quite right…At first I thought he was just baiting me, but turns out, he was holding back his elation. The whole thing bombed when I blurted out “April Fool’s you goofball” only to see the saddest look come across his face.  I felt horrible. It never once occurred to me... (At least we got a nice long talk out of it. He’s now married and has a bunch of kids.)
            Rule #4 – Be on the lookout for new subjects at all times. Back to Rule #2, once you’ve gotten someone good with an April Fool’s prank, you can never go back to the well.
            As a result of Rules 2 & 4, my April Fool’s Day was spent in moderation this year. My mom was on the lookout for a last minute change in birthday plans. My brother was working so hard my response to his birthday lunch request didn’t even blip on his radar. (I had replied, “Can we do it next week? I’m flying to London for the weekend with one of your clients,” thinking surely he’d call me immediately.) He wrote back, “Sounds great. How ‘bout Tuesday. Can’t wait to hear all about it”
            I wrote back “Hello? That was an April Fool’s!!…adding, “Either you’re working too hard or we're no fun anymore” (Turns out it could be both.)
            Likewise, I could be losing my touch or I could be running out of people I'm certain can handle it. Then again, it could be my creative juices are getting consumed elsewhere these days. Hard to say. But at least I have good memories~ 


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