Foolish not to expect pranks

It's not easy being a fool.

Then again it hasn't been easy turning 26 today either.

OK, maybe I better ask for forgiveness and just admit there's a fine line between April Fools prankster and liar. I'm not particularly good at either.

As the resident April Fool I've more often been the butt of jokes on April 1 than the one doing the hee-hawing. I wish I had written them all down, they would make a great book of pranks. Let's just say that candles you can't blow out got just a little old over the years.

The year I turned 21 coworkers at the Quay County Sun held a party at the Pow Wow Inn for me. The ladies of the paper brought the cake out for their bachelor office mate which quickly got hoots and hollers from the whole place. It was adorned with a Barbie doll that had been anatomically enhanced with magic markers, wearing a black, see-through negligee. Oh yeah the obligatory stay-lit candles were also suspiciously sputtering at the corners.

After the candles had been doused the gals were talking about how the cake was made by one of the coworkers and describing her backing talents as superb. With that idea planted they then handed me a knife and told me to cut my birthday cake. The knife immediately hit resistance so I moved over a bit and tried again. Not wanting to say anything, I began sawing on the cake as inconspicuously as I possibly could. Finally the room erupted and I knew I'd been had. A sheet of Styrofoam below the icing had made me into a fool.

When I turned 30 my wife rented a billboard on the busiest corner in town to announce to the world that I had reached the milestone. She adorned the sign with lots of black balloons.

Being in the newspaper business and often responsible for ad placement in the paper I mostly avoided any birthday ads with embarrassing photos.

One year my wife got me though. She had my mother mail her the photo of when I was about 4 or 5 wearing the cowboy hat with the wagon wheels on it. Full page — nobody missed it, especially those working at the paper that night before my birthday.

The next morning my office walls were papered with the ad and everything in my office was literally turned upside down from stapler to chair to inbox nothing was missed but the desk itself. For good measure a full roll of toilet paper was used to finish the decoration.

Fortunately I don't suffer alone. Amazing as it may sound I have a nephew, a cousin and a shirt-tail cousin who were also born on April Fool's Day. I speak from experience when I say that over the years excitement about our birthday has been replaced by apprehension.

If you think any of us is going to open a gift can of nuts think again.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

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