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.

Why’s Everybody Always Picking on Me?

I’m pretty convinced that there is a tattoo on my forehead that everyone but me can read. It’s big and clearly shouts, “PICK ON ME!”

Seriously, why else would I always end up being the target of everyone’s pranks?

Ever since I was a wee girl, my siblings would pull various stunts that would emphasize my clumsiness, leave me red in the face or result in my screaming and flailing about in terror. And then my friends started joining in. Before long, I just learned to expect that, at least once a week, something will happen to scare the bejeebers out of me.

Brandy, my sister, is the undisputed master of scaring Mindy.

Don’t get me wrong, others have scared me. For instance, one of my coworkers when I worked in the housing office in college, would always try to scare me when I would be walking about campus in the middle of the night. Her best was the night we saw The Blair Witch Project. As my roommate and I walked back to our room, my coworker hid around the corner, waiting for our approach. When she jumped out, I nearly peed myself in terror. The scream probably woke up everyone on campus that night.

My little brother, Allen, tries pretty often too. He always liked to hang outside of the bathroom door and scare me as I walked out after taking a shower. I’d then chase him down the hallway on trembling legs, trying to punch him for leaving me quaking in fear.

But Brandy is a woman who spends her days plotting how to scare people. And she scares anyone and everyone. Ask her husband why he’s terrified of being in dark spaces with her or why her daughters hate the walk from their bedroom to the living room.

Sometimes Brandy’s scares are unintentional, like when she says something to me when I’m in the middle of some task, like laundry, and because I think I’m alone, the sound of her voice results in me clinging to the ceiling.

Another innocent scare happened tonight as we drove home from Target. I turned a corner to pull onto the highway, and Brandy commented on a hitchhiker she saw. Unfortunately, I hadn’t noticed him standing on the corner, leaning out into the lane with his thumb held high. When I saw him, I screamed bloody murder and yanked the steering wheel to the left, trying to pull away from him so I didn’t run him over. I actually reacted in fear so badly that I pulled a muscle in my chest. Sad, huh?

But the number of intentional scares Brandy has initiated far outweigh the number of innocent ones.

You know how I mentioned Allen would lurk outside the bathroom and scare me? Brandy has scared me after knocking on the door. How? She’ll hide, so I’m confused when I answer the door, then she’ll jump out and scream. I once punched a screen door, because she jumped out and scared me so bad after I answered one of her phantom door knocks.

So, it’s no surprise that, as I sat in my car answering a text message before leaving her house tonight, she managed to leave me quaking and beating my car horn in fear.

Brandy stepped outside to bring in her dogs and noticed that I was sat in the car doing something (texting). She didn’t hear my engine and thought my car had broken down, so she walked over to see if I needed help. Eventually, she heard my engine and thought it was the perfect time to enact a new scare. Clearly, dancing about in my headlights in her black coat and dark jeans wouldn’t work as I was otherwise engaged. So she began pounding on my passenger window.

Sat in my car, in the dark, in front of the woods behind Brandy’s house, I was already a bit creeped out. So when something dressed in black started pounding on my window, I began beating at the horn, screaming and trying to stop from having a fatal heart attack.

What did Brandy do? What she always does, laugh her butt off.