Friday, April 1, 2011


Today is April Fools’ Day. In China and in America, the gags roll on. Fortunately I had my students to remind me of this momentous occasion; otherwise I might have let a day of legal pranking go by unobserved!

I love a good joke, don’t you? Even if it is at my expense: there is nothing richer than the laughter you can direct at yourself.

Sadly, no one is sure of the genesis of this great, fun day. Some say it is to honor court jesters of yore, others believe that, once, a jester took a monarch to task. The monarch in question retaliated by making the jester king for a day. The jester got the best of him: he proclaimed that ‘his’ day of being king should be forevermore the day when fools get to be kings. It just so happened that the day in question was April the 1st. I tend to believe the latter explanation.

In China, April Fools’ Day is no less an occasion than in America. However, the jokes are not very sophisticated, and they are more good-natured than mean-spirited or goofy. They run along the lines of: ‘Hey, I just saw you walk by. Where are you headed?’, delivered by text message.

As it turns out, that was my first prank today. It really wasn’t funny because I did have an errand to run early this morning and ducked out of the house at 7AM, before anyone was really moving about on campus. I hadn’t washed my hair (but I did comb it), hadn’t put on any makeup and did not bother with ‘outside’ clothes. When Yolanda, one of my students sent me a text message that she saw me, I was horrified! I guess, in retrospect, it was pretty funny. Especially because Yolanda did not know that I had left the house on this emergency errand in such disarray. I supposed she and I are even, having double-pranked one another.

Yolanda set the tone for the day. I decided that, if I’m going to get pranked, I’m going to do some pranking myself. I sent all of my students, as well as Sam and Victor a text message saying that I just received an emergency phone call from the States and I must return home immediately. Oh, the flood of messages I got back! They ranged from concern for my situation to asking what they could do to help. Victor said he also had a situation he must return home to manage. Sam started sweating bullets, and that’s not good because guns are not legal in China. It appears everyone laughed when I sent them the ‘Gotcha!’ message.

I then undertook to prank all of my Stateside contacts. I sent out an email saying that my time in China has come to an end due to the political climate, tensions on campus and my ongoing health concerns. I’ve already gotten a few messages back from that email. Suzanne knew I would be contacting her today – she remembers me best as the jokester in her life. Others thought I was serious because of the way I phrased the email. That is, they thought I was serious all the way up till they read the postscript: Happy April Fools’ Day!

My email prank to my Stateside friends and my text message prank to my Chinese friends pales in comparison to this next…

The best prank I fell victim to today: Toothpaste oreos.

One of my students/friend, Jinkey, pried a few oreos apart and put minty toothpaste between the cookies, and then put them back in the package. She offered me a cookie and, delighted - oreos are my favorite, don’t you know! I was just about to pop one in my mouth and she shrieked, scaring me half to death! And then, she took my oreo away...

As you might guess, I will fight for oreos, and her snatching mine out of my hand... well that was a declaration of WAR! Until she showed me the toothpaste.

I thought she was just offering me minty oreos. She is a clever girl. She wins the prize for best prank today!

I hope you get pranked with happy, funny, memorable, non-serious gags. Just be glad I’m not in your immediate vicinity.

P.S.: due to my earlier gag on my students, I felt the need to hide under my bed the rest of the day to avoid any further pranks my students might pull on me. I crawled out from under just to write this entry. I hope you appreciate it!

No comments:

Post a Comment