Editor's Note: It's the April Fools thought that counts

Did you prank anyone Tuesday?

I didn’t. I never do. It seems I can never think of good April Fools Day pranks, or, if I do, I lack the courage to carry them out.

I’m kind of a softie. I don’t like causing any real pain or distress, especially not to my family or friends.

I’m also a worrywart. I tend to think of the worst possible thing that could happen as a result of this practical joke, and then I don’t do it out of fear that my worst-case scenario might come true.

I did pull one epic prank on my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time. It wasn’t April Fools Day, but he had done something annoying and I had threatened retribution. My threat was met with an eyeroll.

“You won’t do anything to get even,” he scoffed.

Well then, of course, it was a matter of pride. It took me a while to think of something that would get back at him without causing any permanent damage.

I struck upon Anbesol, an anesthetic ointment intended to numb the pain of mouth sores. I bought a tube, and while he was out, squeezed its entire contents into the bristles of his toothbrush. It was clear, and not really visible unless you looked close, and who looks closely at their toothbrush?

After dinner, we were going to go out, and I innocently suggested he brush his teeth first because he’d been eating garlic. I watched him brush away for a moment before his eyes grew wide.

He spat in the sink and turned to me in disbelief. He tried to say something – I’m pretty sure it was an unflattering name – but couldn’t. His entire mouth was so numb neither his lips nor tongue could work, and he had to keep his head over the sink because of the copious amount of drool.

He forgave me. Eventually.

The problem with pulling one good prank, though, is ever since then, he has challenged me to top it, and I don’t think I can. I’ve thought of better pranks, but I just can’t bring myself to ruin any of his stuff, and I’m honestly not committed enough to the joke to orchestrate some elaborate prank with multiple people to help.

Besides, in the back of my mind are the memories of some legendary prank stories from my family history. They are told and retold through the generations, with plenty of laughter – except not, I have noticed, from the victims of the prank.

There was the woman who returned home from her honeymoon to find all the labels removed from the cans in her kitchen – for months, no one could say in advance whether it would be beef stew or diced peaches at dinner. Another bride returned home to find her apartment trashed, and her plates and silverware, among other household items, ruined beyond rescue.

That friendship did not survive the prank.

That’s why I tend to watch April 1 go by, thinking of jokes I’ll never pull off.

Enjoy your MidWeek.


Due to incorrect information provided to The MidWeek, Melbourne Maertz’s name was misspelled in the caption of the photo in the March 26 edition of Looking Back.

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