I was never much for pulling pranks. It always seems so juvenile and I'm beginning to think that I was never juvenile... I was a pretty serious kid. I didn't do jokes (never could remember them) or pranks. I knew how to have fun, but it was rarely at someone else's expense.
Except for this one time - and I wasn't the instigator; I just went along with it. And I still cringe all these years later.
The house I consider my childhood home was smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood of old people. We made lots of pocket money raking leaves, sweeping roofs and doing those outdoors chores that they weren't able to do anymore. I also cleaned house for a couple of them (yes, those cleaning tendencies started very young). My house was the anomally, with lots of young children in residence.
At the time, it was me, John, Jerry, Andy and Matt, who may or may not have been born - he may have been just a very young lump of boy at that point.
Anyway, this was back when "streaking" was all the rage. It started here at FSU and spread like wildfire across the country. My dad went along on a streak (fully clothed) as a reporter and interviewed naked people as they ran. Ray Stevens wrote a wildly popular song about the national obsession. And this was the backdrop for our "practical joke."
We were home alone one day (or maybe Mom was taking a nap but I don't think we'd have risked it if she were there), when John dared Jerry to streak around the house three times. Jerry accepted, shucked his clothes and began his laps around the house in the buff. While he was doing that, John and I locked all the doors and windows. Jerry finished his laps and tried to come inside, setting up quite a howl once he discovered that he couldn't. Neighbors started appearing on porches - Miss Madie and Miss Blannie across the street were a bit scandalized by the young man in the yard with no clothes. Once the sisters made their appearance, John and I realized that we could be in big trouble, so we let Jerry in, who fell panting and crying onto the floor in the livingroom.
I wonder if he ever got over that. Nearly 40 years later, I know I didn't.
And it wasn't even April Fool's Day.
So enter April 1, 2009. In all the time since Jerry's streak, I've had no part of and paid no attention to April Fool's day. It seemed childish and mean and never interested me. Amazing that I was never the victim of such foolishness in all that time.
On March 31st, I was reading FaceBook status updates, and one of my co-workers wondered what kind of prank he would fall victim to THIS year. I thought it was odd, but it did occur to me that FaceBook would be exactly the right kind of venue for this kind of thing.
So it was with some trepidation and skepticism that I ventured onto Facebook on April Fool's Day. Things seems relatively normal until I got to this:
MR just got hit by a train (MR is my niece. Beautiful. Young. Brilliant. Just got accepted to a college with a fullride scholarship.)
I thought it was a joke, so I made this response: Geez... what is it with this family? First Jay gets hit by a beer truck, then you get hit by a train. I'd better look both ways when crossing!
Then there was this: MR well ok thats status is scary: make that- just got hit by a train and is surprisingly A-ok but my car didn't make it.
Lots of comments followed that one, but I was still trying to figure out if it was a joke or not. Finally the comments and her responses to them made me think that maybe it wasn't a joke.
A short while later, my brother Jay posted this: JR almost got hit by ANOTHER truck (his fault this time, not mine). WTF is wrong with Atlanta? GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!
Okay... this is going too far. Jay WAS in fact, hit by a truck last week while trying to get to his bus. I IM'd him and discovered that this near-miss was also true! Holy crap.
And my niece's encounter with the train was ALSO true! Double holy crap, Batman. Instead of heading north for a joyful graduation next month, we could have been heading north this weekend for a very sorrowful funeral.
Then another brother, the cop, joined in with this: AR is back from the ER. Cannot be reattached. Who uses a left pinkie that much, anyway?
WTF? Has he had another run-in with a more pitbulls? In his line of work, he deals with lots of crazy people and has, in fact, been mauled by pitbulls on his arms and hands before in the line of duty.
Thank goodness THAT one was a joke. A bad and ill-timed joke, but a joke nonetheless. (Good thing you're not here, AR - you'd get a whuppin' from your big sister for that one! I don't care if you're bigger than me now.)
My niece didn't escape unscathed (and her car is totalled). This morning I found this on Facebook: MR is that dumbass on the news.
I HATE APRIL FOOL'S DAY. You never know whether that bad news is really bad news or someone's idea of fun.
I need to lighten up a bit before going on with my day. So I share this with you:
And Jerry? I'm REALLY sorry.