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April Fool's Day is almost upon us. I used to have a lot of fun with April Fool jokes on my kids when they were growing up. I played some pretty elaborate pranks on them and even though they knew to expect something every year I always managed to catch them off guard.
I have never pulled the same prank twice, (that would be cheating), although I have pranked them in similar ways. I once gave them orange juice for breakfast that was actually orange gelatin in glasses that I set the night before when they were sleeping. I have done the same thing with plain gelatin at dinner because it looks just like milk. Watching them trying to figure what was going on with their drinks was a hoot. I have even gone so far as to make fake mashed potatoes out of flour and covered their wooden building blocks with icing, put them in the freezer and passed them off as ice cream cakes. At first they thought that they were just so frozen that they couldn't even cut into them. I got a kick out of that.
When they got older it became more difficult to trick them and I would spend a lot of time dreaming up complex jokes. I once took off the label of my oldest son's shaving cream and put it on a can of whipped cream. He shaved completely with it before realizing that it was not shaving soap. He just thought I bought him one that smelled really good. I did the same thing with my daughter's shampoo and conditioner once. She couldn't figure out why she couldn't get any lather going with her shampoo.
I have put gallon size zip lock bags full of marbles in their pillow cases, fake plastic apples in their school lunches, and pinned their sleeves to the sides of their shirts. I once put plastic buckets full of confetti on the top of their bedroom doors so they ended up opening the doors and being covered with paper. That may not have been my best plan since I neglected to realize that I would have to clean it all up since they had to go to school. I ended up with the same problem when I went into their drawers while they were sleeping and mismatched all their socks. Ditto when I filled their medicine cabinet with Styrofoam peanuts. I once put small water balloons in the toes of their sneakers and made fake candy out of play dough. Actually, they didn't think that one was all that funny. It is probably kind of nasty to bite into a snickers bar and get a mouth full of play dough.
You name it and I've done it. Nothing destructive or malicious, just stuff that ultimately made them laugh. Sometimes I would do it in the morning and sometimes let them suffer all day and prank them at night. Never once, no matter how they tried, were they able to see a prank coming. I loved it.
No one really knows the true origin of April Fool's Day but there are similar prank days in lots of cultures all over the world. In France and French speaking Canada, it is called Poisson d'Avril, or “April Fish”, and people try to put paper fish on the backs of others without them noticing so they walk around all day with a fish on their back. This is considered hilarious.
There are similar days devoted to nonsense and trickery in India, Korea, China, and a bunch of other countries. Although they are not related in terms of their origins, it is obvious that pranking others is a pretty popular sport all over the world. In 1958 British television did a whole news story in the evening about a bumper spaghetti crop harvested in Switzerland, complete with a serious commentator and film of Swiss people picking spaghetti from trees. In 1985 Sports Illustrated ran a full article about some rookie pitcher for the Mets named Sidd Finch, who could throw a 168 mile per hour fast ball and had learned to pitch in a monastery in Tibet. Burger King once took out a full page advertisement in USA Today where they announced that they would be serving a left handed Whopper. It just goes to show you the lengths that we will go to pull the wool over the eyes of others and have a good laugh at their expense. It helps that people can be ridiculously gullible and always have been. It wouldn't surprise me if cavemen pulled pranks on each other once a year just for fun.
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