Teri Vance: Don’t call a zoo for Mr. Lyon
My husband keeps telling me he’s so excited for Easter. He says he’s already hidden the eggs and can’t wait for me to find them. It’s all a lie, of course. It’s his attempt at an April Fool’s prank.
It’s not a great one.
I’ve never been big on pranks, but my sister Casandra loves them.
One year, she called my mom at the storage office where she works. She told my mom a man named Mr. Lyon had mistakenly called Casandra’s phone, but was looking to rent a storage unit.
She gave my mom the number to the San Francisco Zoo. My mom is gullible enough to not question, and just called the number, asking for Mr. Lyon.
It took longer than it should have to get it sorted out. The lady who answered the phone finally had to explain it was probably a joke.
It still makes me laugh to think about it.
As with all pranks, however, they can easily cross the line.
Casandra once had the idea on St. Patrick’s Day to prank her kids. Each year, they make an elaborate trap to catch a leprechaun, but each year they are foiled.
Casandra came up with the idea to put a rat in the trap. The kids would hear scuffling about and think they’d finally caught the little guy.
Instead, when they lifted the cardboard, they’d see a rat. Surprise!
She enlisted me to get the rat from the pet store. I tried to be supportive. I actually went to the store and looked at the rodents. Just seeing them made my skin crawl.
I called my sister and told her it seemed like a bad idea.
Instead of a fun surprise, you will be giving them lifelong trauma, I told her.
Reluctantly, she agreed to give up the idea. But the next morning she called to thank me. The idea of waking up to a rat was more than she could bear. She’d just got caught up in the fervor of her prank.
That’s an important piece of pranking — always consider the consequences.
Cathleen Allison, owner of Nevada Momentum, said her daughter Emily was about 10 or 11 when she pranked the family by rearranging the entire kitchen overnight.
“She’s 26 now and what we remember most about the prank was how she had to put it all back together the right way,” Allison said. “She hadn’t thought about that part.”
The key to a good prank is it causes some havoc, but the harm is minimal. Like this one my friend Jodi Keele shared:
“One time, I woke up to the DJs on the radio saying it was 7. My clock read 6. I was so mad at my roommates for changing my clock. I rushed to work only to realize my roommates were innocent. It was the DJs who made me an hour early for work!”
With April 1 being Sunday, you don’t have a lot of time to work out an elaborate prank, but you still have time to pull one off.
If you’re in a bind, take Julie Hulet Keller’s advice, “A rubber band around the kitchen sink sprayer is always a classic.”
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.