• Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Yesterday was April Fools’ Day, never too late.

A few years back I had some fun on April Fools’ Day. I had never played a prank on anyone, never, not once to my recollection. Pranking seemed mean to me. It erodes trust. But I thought I ought not to go through life without at least trying out an April Fools’ Day prank. Maybe I was missing out on something fun.

Sooo, I got a fake parking ticket off the internet, one with all sorts of rude phrases and nonsensical demands, and I set out to fool my nearest and dearest. The fake ticket listed offenses such as: mentally handicapped driver, parking like a jackass, inventing a parking space, too stupid to drive a car, parking too close to real car, and other more vulgar witticisms.

First I put the fake ticket under the windshield wipers of a friend’s car. She is about my age, has a Master’s level education, fairly steady nerves, and a ready sense of humor. She steadfastly ignored the ticket, and I had to point it out to her several times, trying not to laugh too soon. As she read my hoax ticket she flipped out, turned red, stomped around, and actually shook her fist at her neighbor’s house, apparently coming to the quick-fire and erroneous conclusion as to the identity of the instigator. She was not pleased when I revealed myself as the practical joker.

Then I drove over to my parents’ house where I tucked the fake ticket under the windshield wiper of my father’s car. Father had difficulty walking, so I gleefully reported the “bad news” about his parking ticket to him. He waved it off for the nonsense that it was, but Mother jumped up and ran out to his car to see (maybe to check her own car too.) It did not take her but a minute to read the fake ticket, and join in the fun. She came back inside with all seriousness, “Peter, you have a ticket on your car.” and she handed it to him. “What!?!” he exclaimed. He read it, then read it again, and then his face relaxed into a grin, “Whew, I thought I had a ticket. That’s a good joke.” Mission accomplished for me.

In writing this I realized that I have inadvertently pulled a prank on someone before, and it was a whopper. I was stuck, in rush hour traffic, at a four-way stop, behind a younger middle-aged black man. He was a clean-cut guy driving a well-maintained older-model car. I had plenty of time to observe him in his rear view mirror because he was distracted by something and not inching up to take his place in the four-way stop rotation to Go! In addition, he was blasting out awful “music”. I had a senior moment and turned on my own radio, which was preset to classical, and amped it up to the maximum of my very good speakers. Angelic music fit for the angels of heaven announcing the rapture poured out of my car. What a fantabulous coincidence. I had the immediate attention of the probably quite pious Christian black man in the car ahead of me. He stuck his head out of his window up to his shoulders, scanning the sky. He turned back inside his car and cut off his music, then he stepped out of his car to get a better look around. There was no actual thunderclap, but there might as well have been. He never noticed that the music had come from my car, perhaps as I quickly shut it off. I did not laugh because his awed panic was more impressive than funny. He seemed prepared to go.

Caption: April Fools’ Day Jokes Are Not Practical

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018


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