Pulling pranks, but not on April 1

I had a mischievous side, but I don’t remember playing many April Fool’s tricks when I was growing up. I saved most of my better pranks for random, unexpected days…

…like the time in Junior High when I organized my whole English class to slide our desks backwards a couple of inches every time the teacher turned away from us. She’d start writing on the blackboard, and — scoot! When she looked at us, we were sitting attentively in our seats, eyes on her, but a few inches further away than we were a minute earlier. The teacher turned away again, and — scoot! By the time the last row was almost to the back wall, she caught a few of the (slower, less sneaky) kids moving backwards, wrote down their names, and sent those kids to the Principal’s office.
She didn’t send me, but I stood up and walked out anyway. After all, the prank was my idea. When I got to the office, I remember someone asking me what I was doing there. My name wasn’t on the list. I told him the story, and he laughed and told us all to go back to class.

One time I got some of my friends to help me take ALL the chairs from the high school choir room and pile them floor to ceiling in the choir director’s office so he couldn’t get in. Everyone either sat on the risers or stood for choir rehearsal that day. It didn’t matter to me one way or the other, because I was the accompanist and I had a piano bench to sit on. I don’t remember who helped put the chairs back, but we got it done.

My senior year of high school, a few of us in the Chemistry II class concocted a solution and placed it in our Physics teacher’s desk drawer so it would emanate a very bad odor. He found it. He also was pretty sure who put it there, since there were only a couple of us who had access to the chem. lab during lunch. He told the chemistry teacher who congratulated us for finding a real-life application of what we had learned in chemistry.

Then there was that time my family worked together on a prank. There was a little Red Owl grocery store at the busiest intersection in our town, Broadway and Center Street. Next to the corner stoplight stood the bright Red Owl sign on a high pole. I had worked at that store as a grocery clerk during high school. One December our family decided the owl needed a Santa hat. My mom sewed the huge Santa hat, and late at night on Christmas Eve, my brothers and I took an extension ladder and hoisted the hat onto the owl head. There wasn’t much traffic that night, and no police cars came by.
The Red Owl Santa made the front page of our local newspaper, and the store manager thought it was awesome. (We did offer to take it down, but it was actually pretty good advertising for his store.)

Christmas owl

All of these pranks had a few things in common.
1. They involved organizing co-conspirators.
2. There was no permanent property damage.
3. I didn’t get into trouble for any of them.

You’d better watch out when it’s NOT April Fools’ Day. You never know what I may try next.

Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.

Charles Lamb

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