Around this time of the year a lot of people ask me for some fun pranks they can play on their family and friends for April Fool’s Day. They assume that I’m a funny guy who likes funny things, and that April Fool’s Day must be a favourite day of mine. In reality, though, the disturbing truth is that I’m a deeply scarred and profoundly troubled individual for whom April Fool’s Day is no laughing matter. A lot of my deep-seated issues actually stem from this absurd non-holiday. I have many times in the past attempted to participate in its mischievous festivities, usually with devastating results.
When I first learned of April Fool’s Day as a child, it struck me as the most delightful of ideas. I couldn’t believe that this was a real thing. A day dedicated to tricks and hijinx that I couldn’t get in trouble for! I began planning all sorts of pranks.
My first attempts didn’t go so well. Or went too well, depending on how you want to look at it. Putting sugar in the principal’s gas tank was apparently going too far. And if sugar in the gas tank was too far, then draining the vice principal’s brake fluid was outright delinquency.
The following year I tried to dial it back a little, and stuck with the tried and tested classic of plastic wrap over the toilet bowls in the girls’ washroom. But the plastic wrap I pilfered from the school cafeteria had been used to wrap several hams which had been sitting out, and that innocent little stunt resulted in several hospitalizations for severe urinary tract infections.
Over the course of the next few years the consequences of my pranks included the interior of a guidance counselor’s car being filled with custard, a few dozen crows getting let loose into a neighbour’s house, and a school janitor being run up a flag pole. Of course, none of these well-orchestrated “accidents” were ever traced back to me, which was a very good stroke of luck indeed when, at age 12, I perpetrated my first joke that resulted in the death of a person. But, if you ask me, it was the raccoon that did the actual killing. And how was I supposed to know at that age that rabies is incurable?
It was a number of years before I attempted another April Fool’s prank, but when I resumed, it seemed I was cursed to continue causing harm. I unscrewed the lid of a sugar container at a diner once so that sugar spilled all over the table when my friend tried to pour it in her coffee. She drank the coffee anyway and developed diabetes which ended up costing her a foot. That same year I sabotaged a symphony orchestra performance and a promising young tubist drowned in his own tuba. A strange and terrifying thing began to happen. Not only were my pranks getting more lethal, I was becoming addicted to the thrill of them.
In the space of only a few more short years I came to view an April Fool’s Day as a failure if someone didn’t end up dead. But, because the deaths were so random and seemed so accidental, they were never connected. A lot of them were pie-related, and quite a few involved fake poop. They were, after all, meant to be jokes. One year I was unemployed and all of them consisted of cartoonishly complicated Rube Goldberg style setups. It was almost as if I was trying to get caught.
As of now, my April Fool’s Day tomfoolery has cost the lives of 14 people. I’m not sure why I’m finally confessing all of this, whether my conscience is finally catching up to me or whether, after all these years, I just want a bit of credit for these wonderfully executed pranks. Perhaps as I get older I’m beginning to realize that the big dreams I had for my life are not going to come true, and this — serial murdering people in the name of a bizarre pseudo-holiday — is my true calling.
Sometimes, too, I feel like I’m more mature than all of this, that I’ve reached a point where it’s beneath me. I really gave that some thought this morning, after setting half a dozen bear traps, as I was rigging a cage housing a half-starved wolverine to open up when a mailbox was unlatched. That maybe this April Fool’s Day stuff is just a bit too silly for me now. Besides, with the way the malls fill up on Boxing Day that’s the time I can get the real killing done.
Photo by Providence Public Library via Flickr