The scene is Christmas Day 1991. Snow falls in the Chicago suburbs as an eleven year old girl in red snowman socks (that she still owns) wakes up at 7AM and runs to the tree to scope out the loot. With the ninja-like observational skills developed over her previous Christmas mornings, she immediately spots the biggest present in the bunch and –as she suspected – her name is on it. An evil genius grin spreads across her face as she patiently waits for her parents to wake up so she can finally open her new boombox.
To this day, the tiny Color Me Badd CD that was inside that unreasonably giant gift box makes me so proud of my parents. And when they finally brought my enormous boombox out of hiding, I was all the more surprised. Due to their teachings I still pride myself on elusive gift wrappings, undetectable surprise parties, and practical jokes of any kind. I’m also fairly confident I’m too good at fooling to ever be fooled. So in honor of April Fool’s Day, I’d like to pass along a few keys to the perfect hoax, so you can learn from my success and mistakes:
Keep your cohorts to a minimum: Don’t brag about a surprise party to someone who isn’t invited and don’t ask your friend’s parents if you can teepee their house. Trust me.
Go big: I once hid an 8-foot pool table from my live-in boyfriend for over a week, although this may say more about him then it does about me.
Stay quiet: My greatest prank went on for five years because I never told a soul and was only discovered at all due to a small clerical error. I don’t plan to describe it here because I’m doing it again right now, but there is something magical about the payoff a years-long prank. I now abide by the “five year rule.”
Think outside the box: If you can look under a Christmas tree and identify a calendar, DVD or book you are doing it wrong. This is why God created refrigerator boxes.
Document the evidence: When they don’t believe it was actually you who wrapped every piece of their workspace in tinfoil last April Fool’s Day it will be much better if there’s a picture to prove it.
Get creative: Toilet-papering your prom date’s house is for juniors. The big leaguers pull out the light up snowmen, string hundreds of balloons across your driveway, hang yoyos from every tree in your yard fill your car with packing peanuts.
Don’t plan: It’s hard to get someone else’s wheels spinning if you have no idea what you’re doing yourself.
Don’t care: Friend telling the whole world how someone took her Rome snow globe and left a creepy magazine-lettered ransom note in its place? This is of absolutely no interest to you. Coworker mentions someone keeps swapping the carrots in her lunch with chocolate chip cookies? Change the subject.
It’s interesting that I get to attribute my sneaky side to Mom and Dad, but to this day they are the only ones who have ever truly surprised me. I’m currently making plans to return the favor.
Happy April Fool’s Day All!