April Fools Day? More like April Fears Day!

If you know anything about me, you know that I am not a fan of April Fools Day. It makes no sense, really, as I love playing pranks. Note, I said playing, not having them played on me. Because that is why I am not a fan of April Fools Day. I blame it on three things: my mom, my sister and retribution.

It all starts on March 31, 2008. At the time, I was living with my mom in a small, suburban house. April Fools Day was only hours away, and I was struggling to come up with a prank that would show my prank-loving mom that I could hold court with her. So I called the one person I knew who could out-prank anyone, my sister Brandy, the Queen of Pranks. 

This is the same Brandy from “Why’s Everybody Always Picking On Me?” She spends a major portion of her days scheming up ways she can scare the bejeebus out of people. Her pranks are legendary. Just ask anyone who ever had to crawl under her house with her to check on the pipes. When they nearly crapped their pants after hearing the guttural gargle from The Grudge, Brandy would just cackle with delight. So, she was the perfect person with whom I could scheme.

Together, we came up with three pranks to pull on my mom. The first was cheesy. I left a message for Mom stating that she needed to call a Mr. Lion. The number, when dialed, would call The Kansas City Zoo. 

Yeah, go ahead and groan. Like I said, it was cheesy. And sadly, she never got to this prank, because my other two pranks came together first.

The second prank seems harmless, but in a way, it was pretty smart. I rearranged a few letters on my mom’s computer keyboard. See, Mom is a hunter and pecker, meaning that she hasn’t memorized where the computer keys are. She searches out the letter she needs, then stabs away at it, slowly typing in whatever she needed. 

In this case, I swapped the letter S for T, the letter E for H, and the letter X for E. Yeah, S-E-X for T-H-E. In the wee hours of the morning, when she got home from working overnight, Mom tried to log into her computer. She never made it.

Annoyed that she couldn’t log on to her computer, Mom decided to call it a night. Before heading off to bed, she made one last stop. And that was the site of prank number three.

See, Brandy had come up with this idea that sounded hilarious at the time. Had I thought it through, I probably would be okay with April Fools. Mom would have played a small prank on me, but I would have laughed it off. But I didn’t, so she didn’t.

No, Brandy suggested that I coat the seat of the toilet in Icy Hot.

God, I can’t ever write those words without shuddering in terror. I may have some nightmares tonight.

I laughed. It would be funnier and less messy than plastic wrap over the toilet seat.

Or so I thought.

See, my mom went to the bathroom somewhere around 5 a.m. Being tired, she didn’t turn the lights on. She just sat down.

On the ring of fire.

You see, Icy Hot on regular skin burns. Icy Hot on your nether regions feels like the fiery flames of hell have been unleashed, along with the flames of a million suns, on your most sensitive of areas. 

Or so I’m told.

When I woke up, Mom was already asleep. But not for long. When I went to work, Mom decided that she, too, would call upon the Queen of Pranks. And Brandy, being the diabolical genius that she is, made no mention of the fact that she was in on the joke. Instead, she gave my mom an idea that haunts me to this day.

I was working at The Kansas City Star at the time. Right around lunch, my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered it anyway.

Trust me, I regret doing that.

A female voice on the other end explained that she was with a debt collection agency. My father had signed up for a cell phone through Verizon and ran up several thousands of dollars. And my name was also on the bill, even though I hadn’t spoken to my dad in about 10 years at the time (it’s a habit my dad was known for – he ruined both of my brothers’ credit before they were even old enough to ruin their own). If I didn’t pay the bill, the woman explained, I would be sued. The woman made it very clear that it didn’t matter whether or not my dad had forged my name (again, something he was known for), I would pay that debt back.

Now, as you know, I’m a bit of a goody goody. The idea of being sued scared the ever-loving crap out of me. The idea that something I had no knowledge of could ruin me started the tears a-falling. I broke down sobbing. The woman on the phone demanded payment, something that I couldn’t really do making $10 an hour and only working 35 hours a week. She said she would call back and then hung up.

By that point, I had left the office and was sitting outside crying. 

And then the lightbulb went on.

I called my mom’s cell phone. As soon as she picked up, I managed to choke out the words, “Please tell me that was a joke!” There may have been cussing. I’m human after all. 

“That’s what you get,” she replied. She explained that Brandy’s best friend had been the debt collector (she was a debt collector in real life, which is why she sounded so authentic). I thought about turning on Brandy, but I didn’t, because I couldn’t have that evil genius looking for revenge.

I’m actually scared recounting this story, because I’m sure that, even though 8 years have passed, my mom’s crotch may still be on fire. I think I’m going to go join Witness Protection now.

Those Pearly Whites

She was giddy.

Honestly, I was happy for her, but goodness! Mom just had every piece of enamel ripped from the roof of her mouth, leaving her to resemble one of those toothless ancient crones found on humorous greeting cards. And for some reason, she was giddy.

Allen, frightened by Mom’s empty grin, took off in the opposite direction. Amused by this fear, she chased after him, literally looking like an escaped mental patient.

This entire escapade took place in October of 2001, as I tried to talk to Mom and decipher her newly formed lisp. Wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been calling long distance to speak to her for the first time in nearly a month.

In her own way, she told me about the entire procedure and how she received the “royal treatment” afterward from my older brother, Paul.

“I athked Paul to buy me thum pudthing packth when he ran to Wal-Mart for thigaretteth. I muth of pathed out before he got back. Then he lef again. I yelleth and yelleth, but he never anthwered. Tho I got up to get thum pudthing, and you know wha? Your thupid brotha bought the kind you have to make. Can you believe that?”

I simpered just what I knew she wanted to hear. She’s so cute.

The pearly whites came along two days later. Unfortunately for my chicken baby brother, the dentures were a tad too big (she had to wait for the swelling to go down before sizing the teeth).

As Mom would talk or laugh her new teeth would shoot out of her mouth. Allen wound up shrieking and covering his eyes then running into the next room.

Next, the begging would begin.

“Mom, stop! Oh God, put your teeth back in! Stop it! Please!”

Of course, I was on the phone, once again, trying to talk to Mom first, then Allen as she tormented him.

Mom’s teeth were fixed soon enough. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to actually witness Allen’s reaction to the dentures as they flew across the room for the nine hundred, eighty-sixth time. I feared I’d miss a toothless old fart chase her seventeen-year-old son around the house when I stopped in for the holidays.

My fears were put to rest when I visited over Thanksgiving.

At roughly one a.m. I finally said it. “Mom, take your teeth out.”

“Are you sure?” She grinned.

I looked at my baby brother sitting across from Mom on the couch, who shrank back as far as the arm would allow. He grudgingly consented and out they came.

My God! She aged 50 years in a matter of seconds, her cheek sinking in without the enamel to hold them out. So, of course, I laughed my butt off. She looked hilarious. I told her so…repeatedly.

“You look like an old country grandma who should be sitting on the side of the road selling ham.”

“Oh my God, you look like a backwoods hick granny. All you need is a banjo so you can play the theme from Deliverance.”

I was on fire shooting them out. Mom and Allen giggled like mad. Tears stained all of our cheeks. Of course, we laughed so hard that we woke up Jamie.

Words cannot describe how mad she can get, and she was livid. So, we called it a night.

During that trip I realized that my mom’s teeth entranced me. I could not stop staring at them. I wasn’t alone. My brother-in-law Jared stared too, driving Mom nuts.

I don’t know if it was because she never showed off her teeth or just because they were new. I don’t know. What I do know is that when I went home for Christmas, I wasn’t able to take my eyes off those dentures.