No Fool like an old Fool

I remember thinking as a child it would be horrible to have your birthday on Christmas. You know, you’d never get enough presents, people would forget in all the holiday hoopla, you might be traveling and never be able to have a birthday party with your friends.

So I must have been blessed, since I didn’t have a birthday on Christmas. I got it on April Fool’s Day instead.

This, as you may have imagined, has engendered hundreds of jokes over the years. Some of them have even had class. I’m told my fisherman grandfather’s first comment was “Throw her back–she’s too small!” (Back in the 1950s, 5 lbs. 6 oz., was still the kind of baby you just sent home, because there wasn’t all this whiz-bang preemie stuff.) There have been standard variations on the clear fingernail-polished soap, the Handi-wrapped toilet seat, little pranks of all sorts over the years, all done, as their culprits insisted, in good fun. But three stand out.

The first was in my senior year of high school, when my locker was the first one right outside my humorless English teacher’s homeroom. My dear friends conspired to fill my locker with pingpong balls, balloons and other noisy clap-trap, so when I opened it in the morning, it all fell out on the floor. While Norma was standing there. Giving ME a look like it was all my fault. Did you ever try to contain fifty pingpong balls while the morning class bell was ringing? I bet you didn’t.

The second was when my dashing single father let the woman he was seeing tell me they were getting married. She was horrid to begin with, a prissy little clerical worker of some sort, and she flashed this huge-stoned ring about, talking about how she’d be moving in any day, etc. Granted I was still in high school, and it probably wouldn’t have been a bad idea to have a mother there, so I could quit raising my sisters while my father worked. All the same, it was just some kind of joke, at least to someone.

The last one was the birthday party my sister threw for me some ten years ago, when she served this beautifully decorated cake, cut it and handed the pieces out. She insisted of course, as the birthday girl, that I have the first piece, so I took a big bite, grateful for her effort. It was all I could do not to spit it out–she’d iced and decorated a huge cornbread. What a shock.

I’ve never understood practical jokes. While I appreciate the intent, it seems to me they mostly hurt people who aren’t prepared. By all means, pranksters should tag pranksters– they eat it up. The rest of us? We do enough to ourselves.

Writer Cynthia Heimel says, “When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.”

I’ll take the plunge. But I’m taking a parachute along, just in case. This time, I want to share the laugh at the end.


13 thoughts on “No Fool like an old Fool

  1. Happy Birthday!! I think I would have opted for Christmas over April Fools but it’s not like we get a choice. Hope you have a good one without all the pranks.

  2. happy birthday! may it be humiliation-free…

    i have been the recipient of a few practical jokes along the way, and share your sentiment… trying hard to smile, laugh and be gracious when you’ve just been ‘fooled’ is a challenge. to have to deal with it – or the threat of it – annually on a birthday. eeep…

  3. I wish the words were mine, but the sentiment is:

    You feel the fortune of your years,
    I hope. For all your children’s love
    This day must bring you happy tears
    And thoughts that joyful music prove.

    I hope, for all your children’s love,
    There is an island, be it small,
    And thoughts that joyful music prove
    Beyond what years you may recall.

    There is an island, be it small,
    Amid the passions of the sea,
    Beyond what years you may recall,
    Where you in silent grace can be.

    Amid the passions of the sea,
    This day must bring you happy tears.
    Where you in silent grace can be,
    You feel the fortune of your years.

  4. Tillykke med fodselsdagen. (“Happy birthday”) Danish greeting, just to make some variation).

    Let this link be my present to you:

    Have a nice day, and a lot of presents!

  5. Happy Birthday, other mom! Hope you had a great day.

    *lots of hugs and love from your adopted Indiana kids*

  6. See…

    You made it through the day and still no Dixie Cups…

    But you know what would be a great twist on that? Filling them with clear jello, it would still look like water but not so bad to clean up.

    I still wouldn’t do it to you, E. maybe, probably, okay I can see me getting him with that one…

    Would you consider helping me mixing the jello up for me?

    Luv ya.

  7. Wow what a post. I think one of the best ways of making up for these kind of situations is to make fun of yourself. Never mind mother’s day is around the corner. Oh Yes Happy belated birthday!!!!!!!

  8. Happy belated birthday. I grew up with a friend who was born on Christmas Day and was even named Merry. I always thought that was poor planning on the part of her mother. LOL

    Now April Fools birthday is a shame. There are just too many fools around to give them their own day.

    Move your birthday to whichever day you like. Tack it onto a holiday weekend like Memorial Day and make the whole party about YOU.

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