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Big Jokers

March 17, 2007

Practical joking is an art form in our family. My husband is an expert practical joker, and I am a pretty decent practical joker myself. We both learned well as children. I have spent time with my husband’s family and can see that he absolutely came by it honestly. To this day, being in the presence of his folks, aunts, uncles, cousins or grandparents means that you had best be prepared for anything, and I do mean anything! My parents are a tad more subtle. If you didn’t know them well, you would likely swear that neither of them are practical jokers at all. Oh, but they are. One of my favorite childhood memories was of a practical joke that they played on me together.

I was probably ten or so and we lived in Arizona at the time. My best friend Holly was at least as mischievous as I was, probably more so. Holly was spending the night over April Fool’s Day weekend. I’m not sure what my parents were thinking, allowing the two of us to have a sleepover during this particular weekend, but they had agreed to it. Holly and I spent most of the evening plotting all of the wicked things we could do… swapping out the salt and sugar, removing all of the lightbulbs from the lamps in the house, taping the piano keys together. You name it, we thought about it. As soon as my folks went to bed, we got down to business. By the next morning, the house was completely “April Fooled”.

I seem to recall that my parents both reacted with appropriate parental annoyance to all of the things that were switched, removed, and otherwise monkeyed with, but they may well have just been playing along with us. Either way, we didn’t get in trouble for all of these things we had done and we had a good laugh about it.  We thought we were very smart for being just ten. I spent the rest of April Fool’s Day at Holly’s house plotting April Fool’s tricks against her mother, sister and brother.

When I got home in the evening, everything seemed to be very normal. All was forgiven for the April Fool’s jokes we had played on my folks. We had all had a good day. It was time for bed. I headed for my room and my parents both followed, to tuck me in. I slipped between the sheets, and tried to stretch out.  I found instant resistance.

“What? How strange! My legs won’t stretch out. The sheet must be hung up on something,” I thought. 

I stretched harder. I pushed and pushed with my feet against the sheet, but it would not budge. I was folded up in the bed and getting more frustrated by the second when I looked up to see both of my parents in the doorway to my room, shaking with laughter. Now I was really confused! I couldn’t get into my bed and my parents were laughing at me… What was wrong with this picture?

“Are you having trouble getting into bed?” my Dad asked.

“Yes, the sheet won’t go down,” I replied.

This response was met with howls of laughter. I was still completely confused. I had never heard of short-sheeting a bed before and I was having trouble putting the bedsheet problem together with the laughter in the doorway. Finally, my Dad stopped laughing long enough to explain short-sheeting to me and I realized that they were paying me back for all of the things Holly and I had done for April Fool’s Day. I’m not sure which was funnier at that point–the fact that they had done it in the first place, or the fact that I had absolutely no idea what short-sheeting a bed was. I sure know now!

It’s fun to pass these kinds of things along to our kids. They are all experts at scaring each other, and have recently gotten pretty good at scaring us, too. They like to hide behind the wall, right at the bottom of the stairs, and jump out as you come around the corner. Their growing expertise is evidenced by the multiple stains in the carpet right there from dropping Slurpees, coffee, Diet Coke, or whatever other stain-making substance one happens to have in hand when a little body leaps out from the staircase with a great shout. They have worked out a system now that includes points for their mark dropping things, screaming, and flailing about in any form. They are mastering the art of practical joking. They have a good heritage.

I’m sure they think they’re pretty smart. They have no idea of the plotting that is taking place behind our closed bedroom door. I think this generation will have to have a lesson on short-sheeting very soon…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 20, 2007 2:29 am

    How fun!

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