Wednesday, April 1, 2009

fool or ghoul?

(glasses: charrow's. attempt at a funny face: my mom's.
for more of both: go here)

I've never constructed an elaborate April Fool's Day caper. I prefer to go for short-lived shockers, like scaring my mom by hiding in the laundry room wearing a ghoulish mask, or environmentally annoying pranks, such as filling a co-worker's office with balloons**.

This year I decided to prey on the reputation of my new city.

The text to charrow read "I went to move my moto and ITS GONE."

Her reply said "Oh no!"

Shocked at the brevity of her response and unsatisfied with the climax of my plan, I cut the joke short and wrote "that's all you have to say?? good thing it's april fool's day." Her subsequent texts revealed a lack of amusement ("I hate u. Good luck finding a new gf").

As I chopped basil for my omelet, I considered another victim. Someone who would be more apt to react with horror and dismay at the misfortune I'd experienced in this predatory city.

The text to my mother said "Give me a call when you have a chance. Someone stole my moto and I don't know what to do!"

I put my phone down feeling sure that she would see through my ruse. Or worse yet, she would leave an important meeting to call me immediately, thus securing both my success and remorse for having duped her.

Two minutes later, the phone rang as I was coaxing an egg yolk from one half-shell to the other trying to keep my fingers out of the runny stream of egg white. Potential lines raced through my head as I rinsed my hands and picked up the phone.

"Hi," I said, closing my throat so the words came out strained.

"I'm so sorry." I searched her voice for a stifled smile, still not convinced that she believed me.

"I went to outside to move the bike and it wasn't there."

"Did you call the police? Do you think it was towed?"

"I don't know. There aren't any signs with phone numbers for towing companies. I knocked on the super's door, but he didn't answer." [pause] "Mommy..."

I admit. The whining was a low point. I'm not proud of it, but for a minute I actually believed that my motorcycle was gone. As I was saying the words, I could picture myself knocking on Norman's door and being crestfallen at the lack of response.

"What am I supposed to do? It's not even registered in NYC."

"Well that's okay. You tell them that you just moved there," which is mom speak for you tell them that you're new to that godforsaken city and that someone stole her baby's property!

"But what about my insurance? I haven't switched it over to NYC yet."

"It doesn't matter, you're still covered. That's why you have insurance."

"And that's why it's April Fool's Day."

There was a sharp intake of breath and what followed was a string of profanity that included such choice phrases as "[insert full name], I can't believe you, you can just kiss my ass!" She repeated it over and over like a mantra for abused mothers everywhere. Never have I heard her utter those words with such contempt.

"But mom," I said, "wasn't that better than jumping out at you with a mask??"

She didn't agree with me, but at least she laughed in the middle of a work day.

** I'm especially proud of this prank because it involved stealing the master key from a secretary's desk and coming back to work after hours with garbage bags full of balloons to infiltrate my co-worker's perpetually locked office.

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