Restraint

Yesterday was April Fool’s Day and I did not play one joke on anyone. I loved tricking my students. Bad test grades, no recess, unexpected tests—they were always gullible. Their idea of an April Fool’s Day joke was to put chalk in the erasers. (Yes, I taught so long ago that I had a chalkboard. No insulting comments, please.)

So since I don’t see students any more, the person I live with is my primary target. As each opportunity arose to play a trick on my husband, however, I resisted.

For years, I planned ahead and always fooled him completely. One year I called our home number and answered, then told him he needed to pick up a colleague en route to school. He’d have to hurry to have time to do that. He started rushing around to leave earlier than usual, and finally I called out “April Fool!” much to his disgust.

Another year, I told him I had a meeting and he and the children would be on their own for dinner. After he’d started planning, I let him off the hook. He was not pleased.

Yesterday, I had many opportunities. When I came home from physical therapy, I could have faked a pulled muscle. I started to, in fact, and then did not.

In the office, he asked me to get out some books to sell at his speech today. I could have said that he needed to go to the basement to get more. I did not. I got the ones that were in the closet.

The phone rang and no one responded when I answered. (That happens a couple of times a week. I don’t think it’s an “if a woman answers” situation.) But since I was in a different room, I could have gone to him and told him our four o’clock appointment had been canceled. But I did not.

As we left our appointment, the steps are steep and the ground irregular. I started to fake a twisted ankle. But other people around might have been sucked in, too, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to April Fool some complete strangers.

So why the change? Partly out of respect for his feelings. The few times he’s ever tricked me, I thought it was funny. He does not. I didn’t want to affront him and ruin his day. He’s pretty laid back about most things, but for some reason he hates being April Fooled. So this year I let him off the hook.

But all those opportunities wasted? Not exactly. I can check back here next year if I need ideas. After all, that’s what April Fool’s Day is all about.

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