Guest column| Mary Partington

Too much tomfoolery to fit in one day

Did you hear about the spaghetti harvest being late this year because of an early frost? This was an April Fools' prank played on listeners in 1957 by a program on the BBC.

We all have memories, good and bad, of jokes we have played or attempted on the first day in April. Zoos get calls for "Guy Rilla." Campers are sent to look for a left-handed smoke shifter.

The origin of the tradition to play pranks on April 1 is not clear and may be traced to the 1500s. Whatever the reason, April 1 gives us an opportunity to add some jest to our lives.

I do not need anyone to pull pranks on me, nor do I need a day set aside for foolish behavior. I have myself to blame for some frighteningly foolish acts. I rationalize that I would rather laugh at my goofs than cry. Crying or laughing can ruin your eye makeup and you feel much better after either one, but a good laugh really feels first-rate.

For instance, many years ago I owned a handheld mixer that I used for baking and other kitchen projects. The electrical cord was not permanently attached to the mixer part and it had a tendency to become disconnected. One blustery day in a northern state I was beating real whipping cream for the top of the hot chocolate and the cord fell off the mixer. I just picked it out of the whipping cream and put it in my mouth to enjoy the taste of the cream.

Yes, you guessed it. The other end was still plugged into the wall socket.

Another instance of foolishness came recently, when I was enjoying a bicycle ride through Starkey Park. Somewhere about mile five I decided to take off my sweatshirt. I am a multitasker and I can ride a bike with no hands, so I just crossed my arms, grabbed the bottom of my sweat shirt and pulled it over my head.

I couldn't see where I was going and I couldn't get the sweat shirt off of my head. Can you picture this? I eventually removed the shirt from my head and looked to see if anyone was watching. I admit I had a few panicky moments.

My greatest and most-regrettable foolishness came years ago. Children did not ride in car seats because the seats were made so poorly the children slipped right out of them. Small children stood next to the driver and when the driver came to a stop, he or she would extend the right arm to stop the child from falling into the dashboard.

I was going to the store with my youngest child and halfway down the driveway I remembered I had forgotten something. I pulled back to the house, turned off the ignition but left my toddler in the car.

I got to the front door and looked back to see the car rolling backward down the driveway with my child sitting behind the wheel.

In those days you could also take the car out of gear when the car was off. We lived in a very hilly area and our street teed into the street at the bottom of our hill.

The high heels I was wearing came flying off as I raced down the hill after the child in the car. The car was headed for a trilevel house at the bottom of the hill, but just before it hit the house the car turned and came so close to the house that it broke the concrete drain for the downspout.

It didn't stop. The car was now aimed for a swing set in the back yard of the house next door, and the land continued downhill. Fortunately, the car rolled over the swing set and stopped. The lady of the house was making her bed and looked out her second-story window to see a car in her back yard. Needless to say, I was so grateful my daughter was safe that I fell to my knees in gratitude.

I don't need a day set aside for foolish pranks because I have me. I am just so thankful that a guardian angel has been watching over me and mine.

Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

Too much tomfoolery to fit in one day 03/31/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 11:10am]

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