Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Was (& Most Likely Continue To Be) An April Fool

“We’re gonna get you,” my sons kept telling me throughout the final week of March. This was their threat in anticipation of April Fools’ Day.

“You can’t fool me,” I would repeat, and I suspected that when the time came for them to pull their prank, I would obviously recognize it.

My plan, however, was to then masterfully act as if I believed their ruse and go along with it, allowing them the satisfaction of having fooled me. They would be happy, yet I would still know that, in truth, I outwitted my eight and six year olds. Sadly, that’s as much as I can hope for these days.

This was not going to be easy to pull off. As my sons have gotten older, they have developed a keen sense for when they are being patronized. I would need to act distracted and maybe even a little annoyed at whatever they would inevitably try and show me to make a fool of me.

What I anticipated was one of the fairly lame pranks that I tried to pull on my parents when I was a kid. I would hide and wait for them to look for me, hoping to make them think I somehow magically disappeared. Little did I know at the time that they were well aware of my lack of magical powers and that they’re grasp on logic would allow them to realize that I never left out of either door to the house since I would have had to walk right past them to do so. My pranks usually ended up with me getting bored and sweaty while crammed into a hiding place and eventually giving up before they ever looked for me.

But my brothers were older than me and I was on my own usually when trying to fool my parents. My sons are so close in age that they conspire on matters like this to trick my wife and I constantly.

Thus, I imagined their operation would involve one brother rushing up to me and implore me to come downstairs because something had happened to the other. If the fact that one was concerned about the other’s welfare enough to stop playing video games and come contact didn’t provide me with a clue that this was part of their deception, the repressed smile on the culprit’s face surely would. They don’t have good poker faces. I initially discovered this while trying to figure out whom in the car farted.

“It wasn’t me!” the accused would shout, acting hurt for not being believed and then immediately try and hide the smile on his face.

But let’s say one of them actually pulled off the sincerity of worry over what happened to his brother. The one who was hurt would be crying. They lack the ability to fake a decent sob. Their faux crying sounds more like a cartoon character’s overacting attempt to draw attention.

“Boo-hoo! Oh, Boo-hoo-hoo! Sob! Woe is me! Oh the pain!” Imagine this in Nathan Lane’s voice and you’ll get the picture.

Needless to say, by the time April Fools’ Day actually arrived, I was full of confidence. I was so full of confidence, and was so deep in sleep that when the alarm rang to alert me to get my sons ready for school, I may have hit snooze a fw too many times and I may have subsequently completely forgotten that it even was April Fools’ Day.

So there I scrambled through the house. I gave them their uniforms, I made them lunches, I provided them breakfast and spilled orange juice down the front of myself all while on the phone with my wife who was at work. Just as I completed cleaning up the floor and changing pants, my sons came running into the kitchen, fully dressed for school, shouting, “Ants! Ants!”

Every Spring, if I don’t lay down a barrier of bug repellent by my front windows, we get a few tiny black ants on the windowsill. It’s a pet peeve of mine and my sons know that I obsess over it each year. This year, I had already sprayed and to think there might still be ants was the last thing I needed on an already stressful morning.

I made about the biggest sigh of my life, hung up with my wife and went stomping into the living room, prepared to spy a couple insects and prepared to spend a portion of my day spraying some more. I stood before the window with a scowl on my face and looked around.

“Where?” I roared at my sons.

Their reply came simultaneously, “April Foo-ool!”

A smile spread across my face and they each received a pat on the head. They got me good. Touché, boys. Touché.

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