Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Years ago I loved April Fool's Day, and went out of my way to "prank" as many of my friends as possible. I usually went the route of little white lies; I never put someone's bike in a swimming pool or anything like that. (Truth be told I still do this sort of thing from time to time: today I successfully convinced my friend Patrick that I was getting back together with my woebegone ex.) But what really sticks out in my mind is April Fool's Day back in the fourth grade. My teacher was Mrs. Long, who I really liked. But I spent the day making her and everyone else miserable with an endless succession of jokes and pranks. That afternoon I went to use the bathroom. When I came back and sat at my spot in the circle of desks, something was wrong. My things weren't there; someone else's were. "I don't own a Babysitters' Club pencil," I said, dumb-founded. Everyone laughed at that. "Why don't you go take a walk next door," Mrs. Long said, grinning. (There was an empty classroom adjacent to ours.) I got it then. They had hidden my desk somewhere and when I went into the other room they would take it back out and set it right. I waited. And waited. When would they tell me to come back in? Finally Mrs. Long opened the door. "What are you doing?" she asked. "Waiting for you to put my desk back in." "Justin," Mrs. Long said, "your desk is right there." It had been sitting right in front of me the entire time. The entire class erupted in laughter. They had gotten me back, and good. It was embarrassing at the time, but it now stands as one of my greatest memories. After all, I can take a joke.