family of fools
family of fools
Yes, it's April Fool's Day. But you won't find any jokes or pranks here. I've never been good at that sort of thing.
Ok, once when I was about ten, I tried to play an April Fool's joke on my parents. I switched the salt and pepper shakers. You know, put the salt in the pepper shaker and the pepper in the salt shaker. My idea of a big joke. Took me fifteen minutes to get it done. And then, looking at the fruits of my labor I realized why the joke wouldn't work. The shakers were clear glass. Doh. And thus ended my attempts at playing practical jokes.
Of course, as a parent I spend a lot of times fooling my children, as my parents did to me.
Santa Claus. The Easter Bunny. The Tooth Fairy. Those are the greatest pranks of all, and we perpetuate them to small, gullible, impressionable children who believe every word we say because we are grown-ups. Eventually there comes that day when we suddenly look them in the eye and say "Fooled ya!" and let them in on the joke. They may seem crushed and dispirited for a while. They may even hate you for lying to them this whole time. But apparently they aren't disgusted by your lies enough to not play those same pranks on their own kids some day. Holiday myths are practical jokes handed down from generation to generation. The fly in the ice cube? The invisible squirting ink? They have nothing on the Santa joke.
Parents are the ultimate pranksters. Did you ever see a kid making a really goofy face and the mother says "If you keep doing that your face will freeze like that!" and the kid looks horrified and spends the next few weeks twitching while he tries to keep himself from making a face that could disfigure him forever. Funny stuff.
Kid: I bit my tongue! Mother: You must have lied about something. I heard this one a lot growing up. Many physical afflictions seemed to stem from disobedience. If I bit my tongue as a child, I would spend hours trying to figure out what I did to deserve it. Eventually every time I tripped or fell or hurt myself in some way, I would assume I was being punished for something. It's the prank that keeps on giving!
Another good parent joke: I had a cousin who never cleaned his ears. One day his mother told him, "You have potatoes growing in your ears!" Instead of running to the bathroom for a q-tip, he spent the next week or so staring in the mirror waiting for the potatoes to come out. I'm sure my aunt got a few good laughs out of that one.
That wasn't nearly as far reaching as the time my father told me that if I swallowed a watermelon pit I would grow watermelons in my stomach. Of course, curiosity got the best of me. Not only did I intentionally swallow a pit, but I ate some dirt and washed it down with a glass of water just to make sure it would grow properly. About ten minutes later, I panicked when I realized that growing a watermelon in my stomach would probably involve some kind of pain. For the next week or so, I checked my stomach every day to see if it was getting bigger. Which led me to think about pregnant ladies. Which made me thing that babies started out as watermelon seeds. Which really screwed me up for a while. Nice joke, dad!
Parents will spend a good portion of their children's lives playing these silly jokes on them. Whenever I would find out that something I believed to be true was just a big old joke, or a little white lie, I would imagine my parents sitting in their bedroom at night, snickering and thinking up silly things to tell us. Parents have to get their jollies some way, right?
So you would think that I would have learned from being the subject of all these little pranks. That I would never tell my kids the same things, or want to watch the horror on my son's face when I tell him that he stepped on ant, so he made it rain. But no, I do the same exact things my parent's did to me. Why? Because the one thing my mother said to me that I always hoped was a great big joke was, unfortunately, the truth: Some day you will become me.