I love a good practical joke – just ask my students. After playing a little joke on my students a couple of weeks ago, one of the students protested that “No fair – it’s not even April Fool’s Day yet!”
We were brought up with practical jokes at home, which is probably why I am always on the lookout for an opportunity to pull a fast one in the classroom. It was my Dad that introduced us kids to practical jokes many years ago.
23 years ago (pretend you hear the strumming of a harp)
“Goodnight boys!” he called, “and no talking!” Dad shut off the light and closed the door to our bedroom. I was about five years old (and very adorable) and I shared a bedroom with my two older brothers, Derek and Scott. I snuggled into my pillow as I heard Derek and Scott start to fight from across the room. Suddenly their quarrel ended.
“Hey – something wet just touched my foot!” Derek hissed.
“Yeah right Derek, you probably just – hey! Something just touched my foot too!” Scott stammered.
“I told you Scott! It’s probably a flippin’ raccoon licking our feet.” said Derek.
“What? You think so?” said Scott nervously. I could hear him gulp.
This was why I tucked my blankets in very tightly. I started drifting off again – secure in the knowledge that a raccoon couldn’t get past my tucked in blankets. Just as my adorable eyelids began to droop, I suddenly felt my bed move! Now I was wide awake.
“Hey guys!” I urgently called, “Something just moved my bed!”
“Yeah right Greg!” called Derek. “Like something would move your bed – raccoon’s can’t move a bed!”
He was probably right. I snuggled into my pillow again. The silence was broken by giggling that sounded suspiciously human. I was pretty sure raccoons did not giggle.
Dad crawled out from under the bed and turned on the light. He was laughing hysterically by this point. Even though we did not like being the butt end of a joke, we were relieved that there were no raccoons in the room. Rabies is no laughing matter. After he had stopped laughing he told us what he had done. As he was walking out of the room, he had turned off the light then shut the door. However, he had never left the room. The “licking raccoon” was the water from the humidifier.
As Dad left the room, I heard Mom say “Real smart Ralph, those kids will never get to sleep now.”
Being too hyper to sleep, Derek and Scott engaged in hitting each other with their stuffed Curious George monkeys, while I fell into a fitful sleep with my teddy and glow-worm dreaming that someday, I too, would be able to pull off a good practical joke.