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“There’s More than One Day to Make a Fool of Yourself”

Judy Lockhart DiGregorio

Something about April Fools’ Day brings out the child in each of us. On this day we don’t have to feel foolish or guilty about playing pranks and practical jokes. However, not all jokes are funny to the recipient.

I remember one my brother Charles played on me during our high school days. My mother had given me permission to drive our old brown station wagon to my girlfriend’s house to return a sweater. My younger brothers, six-year old Walter and four-year old Lester, wanted to ride with me. It took about five minutes to reach Mary’s stucco house on top of a small hill at the end of a long dirt driveway.

When we arrived, I turned off the ignition and left the boys in the car while I delivered the sweater. Mary answered promptly, and we stood on her front porch chatting a few minutes. Suddenly I heard the station wagon start up and watched it careen down the driveway leaving clouds of dust behind it. I gasped out loud as I realized I had left the keys in the ignition.

Sprinting as fast as I could, I chased the car down the hill but couldn’t catch it. By now, I was completely panic-stricken. Abruptly, the car turned around and headed back towards me. I couldn’t understand how either of my young brothers could navigate it so well. As the car finally stopped beside me, I saw my older brother Charles sitting in the driver’s seat with a friend beside him. They had been walking down the road when they saw me drive up to Mary’s. They followed me up there to ask for a ride home. Then Charles noticed I had left the car keys in the ignition with Walter and Lester in the car. He decided to teach me a lesson, and I’m glad he did. I never did that again.

Most jokes are a little funnier than that one, especially those perpetrated by our good friend, Danny. For years he planted his old Christmas trees in our yard. It always took us weeks to notice them because they looked so natural. Danny also made a big splash at a friend’s wedding when he smuggled in water pistols to several men in the congregation. As the groom walked down the aisle, they playfully shot him in the crotch. Thankfully, the bride and groom survived the antics and are still happily married today.

Winston, another friend of ours, specializes in targeting male acquaintances at restaurants. If he sees someone he likes to tease, such as my husband Dan, he calls the waitress over and tells her it’s that person’s birthday. Sometimes he even gives the age of the person, usually adding ten or twenty years onto it. Finally, he suggests surprising the person with a “Happy Birthday” song. Of course, the waitress obligingly gathers up people to sing, and the unsuspecting victim is shocked to find himself the center of attention while Winston laughs in the background.

Most of our friends have a good sense of humor. When our children were young, Dan and I enjoyed a weekly ritual on Friday nights, after the children were in bed. We would get into our robes and pajamas, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy a leisurely, quiet dinner of fluffy omelets stuffed with onions, ham, cheese, and green peppers. Evidently we talked about this habit more than we realized. One Friday night we invited two couples over to share the omelets with us. As a joke Dan and I put our robes on over our clothing. When our friends arrived, the joke was on us. Not only were they wearing robes, but each of them also wore pajamas. We never laughed harder, and the omelets never tasted better.

Whether or not it’s April Fools’ Day, we can still share humor and laughter with each other. After all, nothing says we can’t act like fools on the other three-hundred and sixty four days, too.

Copyright © April 2018, Judy L. DiGregorio

Judy Lockhart DiGregorio is a humorist, speaker, and the author of three humor books and a CD from Celtic Cat Publishing, Knoxville, TN -- Books: Life Among the Lilliputians, Memories of a Loose Woman, Tidbits, and CD: Jest Judy.

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