恶作剧之礼 The 1)Etiquette of 2)Hoaxing
In my 3)natal family, the holiest of holidays were April Fools', Valentine's, Halloween, and the first night of 4)Passover, in that order. To joke was to love, was to entertain, was to celebrate liberty. My friends were brought up to take praying seriously; my brother and I, to take playing seriously. Pranking was not only allowed, it was encouraged. Maybe it was even 5)mandatory. And there were rules. Tricking people wasn't supposed to be mean. The 6)butt of your joke wasn't meant to feel like a 7)jerk. Ideally the victim would be warmed and flattered by the attention. Oh, look how smart I am, that it took so much effort to 8)beguile me.
Sometimes it went brilliantly right, and sometimes it didn't.
Five o'clock on a lovely early spring evening, and my mother called me in from the backyard. She and my father were going out to dinner, she said, and she had my dinner ready at the kitchen table.
Pretty weird: No one, not even babies, dined at five in our family; and the kitchen table, in the rooster-wallpaper 9)nook, was only for lunch and dinner. But my mother had a happy, 10)adoring look on her face, and I didn't think twice about going along with whatever she wanted me to do. I washed my hands and sat down at the table. I can see it perfectly across the years—the 11)Formica table12)festively set with a straw 13)placemat, yellow cloth napkin, and a fork and knife from the dining room 14)flatware. Looked like a party.
With a flourish, my mother set a plate before me: two sunny-side-up eggs, a couple of strips of bacon, and a heap of bright peas and carrots. It wasn't the sort of food we ate for dinner—I think that was the year of 15)Steak Diane—and the bacon was curiously unaromatic, but my mother was calling it dinner, and so dinner it was. I stuck a fork into the yolk. Well, tried to stick it in. Everything on the plate was candy. Thus, my first April Fools' Day, and sheer perfection. My mother and I laughed and ate the 16)marzipan veggies, and I felt very loved.
Less successful was the time my mother called me into the kitchen; said, “Nancy, I'm angry at you”; and threw a drinking glass at my feet. It shattered on the 17)linoleum floor, and I burst into hysterical tears. “Nooo!” my mother 18)wailed, gathering me into her arms. “It was a joke! That's Libby's new Bounce glass! It was supposed to pop right up like a tennis ball! Oh, baby girl, I'm so sorry, I'm going to write a letter to Libby and 19)give them hell.”
Rule: Always know your materials.