April Fool's Day: Hot Lips yes; Hawkeye no
Inspired by the classic M*A*S*H episode in which BJ vows to prank the entire camp in a 24-hour period, my parents set up a similar scene for my sister and me one April Fool’s weekend.
It was the spring I turned 12, and my sister was 10. We were visiting my grandparents up “at the lake” -- a generic term we use in Michigan to describe any cottage-like dwelling north of Toledo that’s not our own -- when we decided upon the weekend of pranks. The rules were simple -- 24 hours, one prank per person, and I’m sure there was an ethics code in place although I don’t remember the exact contract. But it was understood that you were going to get tricked, you had permission to trick back, and it wasn’t going to hurt anything except your pride a bit.
I don’t remember all of the practical jokes played that weekend, but there were some classics. In addition to some chili sauce pancakes and my sweatshirt sleeves sewn together, the worst to get it was my mother who brushed her teeth with garlic powder. (She sucked on Pep-O-Mint Lifesavers for the remainder of the weekend.)
But what I do remember well was laughing. A lot. My grandparents were just as into it, and I remember Grandma’s head thrown back in stifled giggles after each prank was discovered.
It was silly. It was harmless. It was goofy and never repeated except for the soundtrack of my mother’s throaty laughter in my mind.
The punch line of the M*A*S*H episode was the excruciating wait for the ultimate prank that never came -- that was the ultimate prank.
The punch line to our weekend was that everything is funnier when you’re laughing together.