Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Feeling Like a Half-Ankled April Fool

I believe I am a member of an exclusive group of educators who actually want to be at school on April Fool's Day. I love April Fool's Day; I love the stretchy feeling of my arm being pulled and the chagrin when I recognize it; I love pranks; I love dorky teenagers pulling dorky pranks; I am a dork; I love April Fool's Day.

As luck would have it, LAST YEAR, April Fool's Day was during Spring Break, and THIS YEAR I sat in a conference room being trained on very un-funny Language Arts Curriculum Guides, Companion Texts, and Ancillary Materials. I practiced using Graphic Organizers, Planning Matrices, and Analytical Scales. I shared Professional Experiences, Checked My Cell Phone, and Watched the Clock. I Stared Glumly down at my ankle, adorned with a fake tattoo my students would have totally fallen for today.

For two years straight I have been deprived of the joy of spending the day surrounded by lame attempts to pull one over.

Each April 1 I am reminded of my dad's best trick, a simple one. I was in high school; April Fool's Day was on a Saturday. My bedroom faced the street. Just after sunrise, my father crawled into my room and woke me up, hissing, "There is a fire in the back of the house! You need to get out; the rest of the family is already in the front yard!"

He directed me to the ground and followed, watching me crawl out the front door in my pajamas, half asleep and panicky. I distinctly remember turning around on all fours when I reached the sidewalk and wondering hazily where my siblings were, only to find my father standing on the front doorstep overcome with humor at my expense.

"APRIL FOOL'S!!!" he proclaimed, pointing at me with glee.

Ooooooooooooh, how I wanted revenge.

The following year, my mother and I hatched a plan to place an ad in the paper for his new convertible Mazda RX-7. It would run for only one day, April 1, a Sunday: "New Mazda RX-7 for sale. Must sell. Best offer."

The first calls came early in the morning. He dismissed them, explaining that they had the wrong number. After a few more inquiries--and one in particular in which the caller asked for my father by name and confirmed that he did indeed own a white RX-7--Dad grew suspicious. He spent the remainder of the day admitting to callers that he'd been had by his daughter. I was jubilant.

Tricks on my dad are not to be undertaken impulsively, as I learned April Fool's Day year I was eleven and misspelled the name of his "boss" on the letter explaining that he would have to be let go--the same letter with a handcrafted facsimile of his workplace's letterhead.

One can't have a brilliant April Fool's Day joke every year or folks would come to expect it. During one of my last years in the classroom, I shamelessly capitalized on the fact that Orville Redenbacher, popcorn legend and resident of my high school's town, had recently passed away. His estate had included an incredibly generous donation to our school, I told my students. The only catch was that henceforth our sports teams would be dubbed "The Mighty Kernels." Some students laughed; some were aghast: regardless, they believed me. It was awesome.

Before I realized that I would be off campus for April Fool's Day this year, I carefully set aside the temporary tattoos my brother and sister-in-law brought back from their honeymoon in Tahiti. They were just real-enough looking, I figured, to fool someone into thinking I had finally decided to illustrate myself. And even though I knew I wouldn't see my students, who regularly comment on changes to my hair and weight, I put one on anyway.

Gravely understimating the girth of my ankle, the tat only went halfway around. Oh well, I rationalized, if anyone asks, I'll say it took too long and I have to go back to finish the artwork.

Alas, no one asked. It's possible a handful of people wondered why I put a silly temporary tattoo around half my ankle.

You just wait, PEOPLE. Till next year, fools.

1 comment:

Mama Deb said...

Hey...did you finally get a tattoo??
(Hope that helps!)