I’m on I-71, with a flat tire... April Fool’s!

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By Janny Wilcke

There are a lot of reasons to love April – warm weather, Daffodils, bright yellow Forsythia bushes, Red Bud trees, and even Lilacs. But one of my April pleasures is April Fool’s Day, because it gives me an ideal opportunity to mess with my hubby’s mind.

We’ve been married for more than 40 years and have known each other for at least 50. He is a teaser, which I am not, so I have borne the brunt of his jokes and teasing for a long, long time. Yet, for many of our married years I’ve been able to get a little revenge every April. It has given me great pleasure to put one over on my husband on April Fool’s Day.  I enjoy getting a rise out of him, getting him stirred up a little, and then, after hearing his reaction, sweetly cooing “April fools!”  And every April provides a fresh opportunity to prove to myself that I still have the knack.

My husband, bless his soul, is the perfect victim. While he usually knows what day of the week it is, he often operates in a fog as to the day of the month. April first doesn’t ring any bell with him. 

My aim is not just to trick him.  I never switch the salt with the sugar, or short-sheet the bed, or hide his keys. Instead, I try to make him believe some unlikely fairy tale.  But there is a delicate balance in choosing the fib.  I don’t want to alarm my husband in some mean-spirited way.  I simply want to shake him up a little. The fun for me is seeing if I can get him to believe a farfetched yarn and then observing how he reacts once he has fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.

This year I called him on my cell phone as I was driving south on I-71.

“Hey,” I said. ”You know how I always worry about my car tires looking low? Well, I just had to pull off because one of my front tires is flat.” I could feel his pulse quicken over the phone.

In good faith, he inquired, “Where are you?”  I had him.

“On I- 71 near the La Grange exit,” I responded in my best apologetic and downtrodden voice.  He was already in Louisville but he told me in a tired voice to wait there and he would come back and change the tire. It was fun for me, and I’m sure he didn’t mind when I confessed and reminded him it was April Fool’s Day.  Life is full of little pleasures, and I do so like to stir him up now and then.

In years past he has fallen for any number of my imaginary dilemmas. Once I told him his truck had rolled into the pond. And, when we lived in Kansas, I got him three Aprils in a row with the exact same scenario – the horses somehow got out on the road. The gals in his office were so into it that on the third year, the whole staff was outside his open door listening to his side of the conversation.

There is one potential drawback to this yearly endeavor to fool my husband. In the back of my mind lurks the fear that someday he will retaliate and play an April fool’s joke on me.  So far he has never done that, probably because, as I said, it’s usually about the tenth of the month before he notices the calendar is wrong.  But the fact that he’s never tried to fool me in forty-three years doesn’t mean he won’t.  So, my anticipation of April first is always partly fun and partly nervous.

The reason is that I don’t like the unexpected.  As a child, when I played hide-n-seek, I would shake in my hiding place, nervously anticipating being found and wanting instead to jump out and yell, “Here I am!”  That old feeling visits me on April first.

My mother used to say, “You ‘gets’ what you gives.” In this case, I hope she is not right because when it comes to fooling people, I can dish it out but I can’t take it.