I had it coming. My fellow Oregonians like to take themselves fairly seriously and I like to play practical jokes. This dichotomy usually works out in my favor. No one sees my prank coming. No one tries to get me back. It’s like having a license to prank. Sometimes the universe steps in to even the playing field.
Years ago, I had the privilege of standing up as the maid of honor at my best friend’s wedding. The groom’s best man and I decided to prove just how trustworthy we are with our roles by playing a number of annoying pranks. Some were classic like the old gravel in the hubcap trick. One was brilliant.
We bought a container of plastic ants and hid them in pesky places. We sprinkled them in the newlywed’s luggage, taped them to their dashboard, and tossed a small colony into their bedroom. They were spread like … well … ants. The little pests continued to show up in unexpected places for almost a decade after the wedding.
To get revenge, the groom dropped one in my beer the night before the wedding. I didn’t notice it. The bar was dark, the conversation was lively and this wasn’t my first beer so I drank it. The table got quiet for a minute as people started figuring out that the ant had gone to it’s doom. Surprise!
Years later, I have imagined a happier fate for my little ant friend. I pretend that it was a queen ant and she set up her castle in my small intestine. If I really let my imagination run away from me, I can almost feel the new plastic colony skittering through my digestive tract, merrily collecting other bits of broken toys parts that I consumed in my toddler years.
Although this revenge for hiding 6 legged party favors was admirable, there was a karmic imbalance that left me a little nervous every April Fool’s Day. That has not stopped me from playing more pranks. My co-workers at the herbal company that I work for took it upon themselves to settle the score.
A few months ago, we received a shipment of fresh ginger from Hawaii. It was creamy, yellow and organic. A spray of juice dotted the air when we snapped a root. It was gorgeous.
It also contained a xeroxed picture of a pin up girl. She was laying on a bed of ginger root with fans of ginger covering her bikini areas. I rolled my eyes and sighed. Classy, very classy. We all got a good chuckle out of it and the ad was forgotten … or so I thought.
April Fool’s Day was the reawakening of the pin up girl. Little copies of the ad in various sizes popped up around the warehouse. I found them taped to the bathroom wall, stuck in the mailbox, and displayed in the break room. There was a slight difference in the ad. The model’s face had been photoshopped out and my own face smiled back at me. I had been out-pranked.
Everyone was in on this joke. My own boss had thought it up. Even my co-worker’s daughter had contributed by working on the final details of the altered picture. I admit, it was a convincing job. It could have been worse. They could have stuck my head on the body of Sarah Palin.
At the end of the day, one of the co-conspirators met me in the parking lot with a big smile. We laughed about the prank. I congratulated him on the smoothness of it’s delivery, the pact of silence that the group kept for 3 weeks and the impact of it’s repetition. Prank connoisseurs have high standards.
We said our goodbyes and I jumped into my car. There, on the windshield, was one last copy of the ad. I bellowed and shook my fist at my howling co-worker. This was the master stroke. The imaginary plastic ant colony in my belly rubbed their imaginary antennae in glee. The prankster universe was back in balance.