Saturday, April 3, 2010
The She Devil - Creating a Monster
I have been duped. It’s a hard pill to swallow by admitting it, but I have been duped. I was a little fish swimming along in my April Fool’s pond and got suckered by an enticing worm on the edge of a fishing line.. and I bit. I not only bit, I held on for dear life until my April Fool’s Day joy seeped out of me like fish guts.
And April Fools will never be the same for me again.
Up until April 1, 2010, the coveted day was a true favorite. I attribute my enjoyment to my successes. I was good at April Fools’ Day. I wasn’t only good, I was stellar. Being one step ahead of friends and family was an art, and I had mastered it.
My obsession for pulling off the perfect prank started very young. I remember my dad busting into my room at 6 a.m. on 4/1 telling me to get up because the garage was on fire and we needed to get out of the house asap. Or the time he had a friend call the house phone, and he pretended to be talking to the principal about my bad behavior. I even recall a time my parents told me that school was cancelled that day only to be startled into reality with the pair of them yelling, “APRIL FOOOOLLLLS” at my bedroom door.
This went on for years until I took over. It was my turn to take the torch and carry on the bounties of a family trait that had thrived in our household for decades.
And so in college, I set up a friend to call my mother and tell her that she was a rental car representative and that her 18 year old daughter rented a car with a fake ID and they had apprehended the vehicle at the Candadian border. That really burned my mother a new one. I would like to think she's still licking her wounds.
Or what about the time I pretended to be a guy on the other side of campus and called my slightly desperate friend for a blind date. This being prior to cell phones, my friend had a nice little three day phone relationship with several boys of College 8’s second story dorm who happened to answer the pay phone in the hallway at any given time. I still owe those gentlemen a big thank you.
My friend was finally ready to meet the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, when she appeared at the coffee shop, hair quaffed, perfume wafting in the wind, she realized that the guy sitting at the outside picnic table under the umbrella smoking a cigarette with his hat on backwards, shades on, was actually me. That was a goodie.
Another memorable experience can only be explained by a member of my most distinctive and proud posse. You can find her ode here:
I pulled off some of my best work last year – April 1, 2009. Pants got a vasectomy about six months prior after Yack turned one year. I was done with pregnancy, done with babies, I had my Yack and my step kids and I was happy – a working mother who felt that juggling the number of balls she had in the air was “just right”. One more ball (kid), and everything could crumble around me. So, I sent Pants in to get the snip. Well, my dear old husband never went back and got tested to see if there was change left in the coin purse, if you know what I mean. And with any married couple we continued to carpet bomb without fear.. I mean, really, how often don’t those snips work? Anyway, the week prior to the blessed day, I had been complaining of nausea and stomach cramps and fatigue.
Pants questioned whether or not the procedure worked and was I "late"?.. Yes I am late, but how in the heck am I supposed to know if your snip worked? Do I look like a penis doctor to you?
On April 1, 2009, I persuaded my very wonderful, very reluctant pregnant friend to pee on a stick. I then presented it to him while he sat in my office after responding to a phone conversation that ended, “I really can’t talk to you about this over the phone. This is something that has to happen in person”.
I didn’t say anything, just shuffled the stick across the table and waited for him to read it. He was in shock.. sweat, eff bombs, and pacing were all symptoms of his reaction. Then, he realized that I wasn’t reacting the same way, sat down and asked, “well, how do YOU feel about it?” I responded with, “I don’t know how I feel, I mean, obviously I am not as excited as when I was pregnant with Yack.” He then said, “no kidding. I had a vasectomy because we didn’t want any more children.” I let my sinister side take over and allowed him to sweat for about 10-15 minutes and then I let him have it, “you have known me for 6 years and this is the greatest day of the year.”
He returned the favor by having our accountant tell us we owed well over the amount that we anticipated in taxes which made my knees buckle for a good spell, but the coincidence in this is the amount he joked about last year is the same amount we owe this year.
Cut to April 1, 2010. Boy did I have my day planned. I was going to have our financial advisor who also happens to be my firm and his firm’s financial advisor as well as some close friends who took our advice, to phone Pants up and indicate that he was now filing for bankruptcy and that he was leaving the country… oh, and here’s a new cell phone number where he can reach him, but don't pass it on to any "authorities". I imagined it having the same effect as a Berney Madolf situation. My plan was hatched.
At 6:30 that morning, the house phone rang. Pants answered. I was still dead to the world. He proclaimed that the phone was dead, and minutes later my cell phone began to ring. I picked it up immediately as it was my step daughter. Getting a call from her at 6:30 in the morning is alarming from the get-go. You see, Mik is in college – a Freshman. It took moving mountains to get her there and keeping her there up to this point as been a breeze, knock on wood. As with any college student, any call before noon is one you don’t want to receive, so I picked up ready to put my game face on and facilitate the fixing.. roommate issues? Bad grade in Astronomy? Not sure how to get over a wicked hangover? Mik feels it necessary to call her step mother with such dilemmas in life.
I answered the phone to screaming, crying, and panting. The conversation, albeit foggy, went something like this:
“Oh, Amy, I am in such big trouble. I am outside my dorm room right now. They did a random search of my dorm room and found a bunch of alcohol under my bed.”
My immediate thought went straight to the handbook guidelines I had read prior to her attending: “there shall be a no-tolerance policy at this university. Any alcohol or illegal substances found in the dormitories will result in an automatic removal of the living facilities and possible expulsion from the university.”
I thought of how we were going to get her out of this one. I have been known to be pretty understanding during my step daughter’s high school career and her real-life curve balls she has thrown me in the middle of the night. Most of those issues were about breakups, parties, getting out of trouble. I had answers for everything.
I didn’t have an answer for her this time, so I started asking questions:
Me, the Sucker: “Where are you right now?”
She-Devil: “Sob sob, I am standing outside my room. The chancellor wants to see me in his office immediately. Amy, I don’t know what to say.”
Sucker: “Is the alcohol yours?”
She-Devil: “No, it’s my roommate’s stash, but she is in there telling them that its’ mine.”
I hardly believed her because my dear step daughter, similar in nature to her step mother, may have dabbled in bad behavior once or twice at the institute of higher learning. So, likely she has a 40 to 50 percent ownership of the "stash".
Sucker: “Okay, Mik. Calm down. The best thing you can do right now is calm down.”
I knew at this moment that I needed to kick up my game, that this type of response wasn't going to get her anywhere and may in fact backfire. I needed a shower.
I turned on the water and stood with the phone glued to my ear as I listened to her sob. Hopeless, defeated.
I figured that I would get dressed, hop in the car and drive to her. This requires a level head and adult intervention. We’ll pull through this.
As the fog lifted from my mind and the morning sun pierced my eyes, I internally began to construct a game plan, not only to get her out of this dilemma with school officials, but more importantly, to run interference with her inevitably pissed off father.
She-Devil stopped crying, as if a faucet was immediately turned off. And in a low voice, with a hint of malevolence, she calmly whispered, “April Fool”.
After several regrettable outbursts, I finally calmed down, and began thinking about what this all meant. I had created a monster.
The She Devil then turned into a laughing hyena, and reminded me as I am just about to hang up on her, “You only have yourself to blame, Amy. I would have never gone out of my way to put you through all of this if you hadn’t been the mentor of my wicked ways.
Next time I see the She Devil, I must remember to tighten the bolts behind her ears.