Did I ever mention I’m a Mormon? April Fools! 🙂
Yes, today is that special day that I am now another year older. It’s as if fate was starting me out on the strange path that my life has so often taken by giving me such a grand and glorious holiday for people to remember it by. Remember it they do, usually, Although this year (on March 31st) I got a text Happy Belated Birthday wish from a friend who had remembered that my birthday was coming up but had for some unexplained reason thought it was March 30th. At first I thought he was just having a little April fools fun, but alas the ravages of old age. He’s been my buddy since high school so I’m just taking in stride and appreciating his heart-felt wish. Which we had a good laugh over after he called a couple of hours later to again wish me a Belated Happy Birthday, thus tipping his hand about which day he actually thought is was. These days I generally use my birthdays as quiet times of reflection over the doings of the last year. However, this was not always the case. In fact in my earlier years birthdays were usually a time of pranks, jokes, and other goings on. I have to blame my dad for this he started with them the day I was born.
In those days hospitals and doctors usually required the woman to come in a few days before the expected due date. Since my mom and her doctor had decided that I would be a c-section they were fairly certain I was going to be born in early April unless some unforeseen circumstance delayed the procedure. So mom checked into Saint Anne’s Hospital on March 30th and went into labor just before midnight on March 31st and at 7:30am on April 1st, I entered the world. Lucky for me and everyone involved there were no complications and no surprises. At least none until later that day. You see after my dad took my mom to the hospital and she had gotten settled in and visiting time was up my dad left the hospital and met my uncle for a late dinner. During the dinner my dad clued my uncle in on a little April Fools prank he was going to play. Everyone knew my mom was in the hospital so he was going to call everyone early on the 1st and tell them I had been born, even if I hadn’t.
My uncle and dad had been best-friends since childhood, they married sisters and thus became brothers-in-law. My uncle being a stalwart kind of fellow grasping the humorous nature of the joke immediately went home and told his my aunt what my dad was planning. Thus keeping his own butt out the sling in case things went terribly wrong. My aunt having no sense of humor began calling everyone in the family over the next two days and tipping them off to my fathers intended prank, thus ensuring its total failure. So, there they were warned and ready for the bogus call and the chance to yell April Fools to him and slam down the phone. Had I been aware of all this I might have tried to hold out until April 2nd, but hey no one bothered to consult with me on this.
So this brings us to April 1st, 5:30am, My mom being totally unaware of the prank and the counter-measures enacted to prevent its success, goes into labor. The hospital dutifully calls my dad to inform him that he needs to get down there right away because they’d prepping my mom for surgery soon. So he throws on some clothes and calls my aunt and uncle. My aunt half asleep answers the phone where upon my dad informs her of the hospital’s call. Her response is; “Yea, Yea, April Fools!” and promptly and soundly hangs-up on him. He then tries my grandmother with similar results. So off to the hospital he goes. He chooses not to inform my mom about the results of the calls, instead he just tells her he called them before he left the apartment to go to the hospital. So she’s assuming everyone will be there when she wakes up and I’m laying there trying to figure out what the heck just happened and when is lunch or is it suppose to be breakfast? For matter what are lunch and breakfast and why do I want them in the first place? But I digress.
So, I enter the world officially at 7:31am on April 1st, glorious April Fools Day. My mom, My dad and I, (thank god no sisters at this point, those two banes of my existence won’t start arriving for another couple of years ;)) are hanging out together my dad at this point has confessed to my mom about the prank and why he’s certain no one is there. Fortunately for him, she has a sense of humor, so just the three of us. no aunts, no uncles, no grandparents, no cousins, no great aunts and uncles, no friends of the family, in fact no-one but the doctor and nurses visit us until noon. At noon my aunt, my mother’s sister, the one who organized and lead the boycott of my birth arrives to check on my mother and get updated on when she’s due. When she first walks into the room her and my dad see each other mom and I were behind the curtain surrounding the bed. My dad said she had quite a smug look on her face having foiled his evil plot of foolish mayhem. That is until she approached the side of the bed past the curtain and saw my mom and me, I was waiting for dinner or was it lunch? Or maybe I was waiting for Friday? All I know I was still pretty confused about what was going on, but heck I was only about three and a half hours old so, give me a break.
Upon seeing me there with mom her jaw dropped, in fact the hospital folks thought that the building had been struck by a small asteroid, as her lower jaw punched holes through ceilings and floors until finally coming to rest somewhere in the hospital’s basement. After taking a few minutes to regain her composure she went over to the phone on the table next to the bed and began a fevered but laboriously slow process of rotary dialing (no cellphones in those days, they were still 17 to 18 years away and push-buttons hadn’t completely replaced rotary phone yet) everyone whose number she could remember, informing everyone that I had in fact been born and that they needed to get to the hospital. So over the next few hours people began to filter in to meet me, I was relatively unimpressed by the motley crew filing in to see me, I didn’t know who they were and they weren’t there when I needed them. Well, OK I didn’t really need them but it was very annoying that I was shunned without them even taking the time to get to know me. Besides I was waiting for my alligator or was that dinner? 😉
So that was my humble beginnings. as the years went by pranks became a trademark of my birthdays, cakes that were plaster-of-Paris discs with frosting as well the whole catalog of gag items passed before over the years. As years went by and I got older the gags continued, sometimes I was the victim and sometimes I got the upper-hand. One year I was seventeen or eighteen at the time they (My Family) planned a surprise party that I got tipped off about, by a friend who hated the whole idea of surprise parties. So with his help I parked my car a block over from my house, his job was to keep me away from there until the appointed time. I thew him the keys and he waited for five minutes for me to get into position at the back door of my house. We had and accomplice on the inside whose job was to hide by the back door making sure it was unlocked so I could slip in while everyone was focused on the front door having seen my car pull up.
Our plan went well, they saw my buddy bounce the front tires of my car off the curb (OK that was not part of the plan and something I almost never do.) I slipped into the kitchen and waited as my co-conspirator walked in through the front door. As he did everyone jumped out and yelled “SURPRISE!” during those critical seconds while they were looking at my buddy wondering why I hadn’t been the first through the door I slipped into the dining room behind everyone and yelled “SURPRISE!” startling the heck out of most of them. Apart from the foiled surprise it was a good party. However, I wasn’t really able to cash in on my holiday birthday until I was old enough to drink. Then I’d walk in go right up to the bar and say; “Today’s my birthday, can I have a beer?” They’d usually respond; “Sure! First one’s on the house!” but then, if I was lucky and frequently I was they’d remember it April Fools Day as they were bringing it to me and say something like “Wait a minute, April Fools! that’ll be two fifty.” To which I would produce my driver’s license which of course had my birthday on it and I’d usually get not only the first one free but the second as well!
But those days are gone I don’t drink alcohol like I used to. So instead I keep things low-key but ever vigilant knowing full well that someone, some where, may be plotting a new caper to get me with on my birthday! 🙂
And no, this post is not going to end with me saying; “April Fools!”