I love April Fools Day. It is a wonderful time to play some favorite pranks. In my early work days it got to the point where I knew I was going to be given the day off because my superiors wanted to avoid my penchant for pranks.
Last year I played a great one on my oldest daughter. When I got her up to get ready for school, I told her that we had gotten three feet of snow overnight. She bolted out of bed and ran to our living room window to find a bright sunny day, and no snow. She was instantly deflated when I bellowed “April Fools!” I was elated. The joke, yet simple had gotten an awesome result.
Fast forward to this year, and my joke was all set to go. I set up a video camera near the computer, and had spent some time prepping my daughter for what was to come. She loves puzzle games, and she saw me playing a game, and she was instantly hooked. Well this was no ordinary game. This was the scare maze. The first couple of levels would play out normal enough. The goal was to get a little dot to the other side of the maze without touching the sides. If you did touch the sides in these levels it would revert back to the beginning.
Once you hit the third level though, all of that changes. On this level, if you hit the side a scary image instantly pops up with a blood curdling noise. You are so intent on getting the dot through the maze that when this happens the scare factor is really ramped up. I thought this would be a perfect joke to unleash on my oldest daughter. I could not have been more wrong if I tried.
The game played out as expected. She eventually reached the scary level, and her reaction was priceless. I shouted “April Fools!” and had a big smile on my face as I came into the room. However, what I met with was tears, and not indignation or laughter for a well-played joke. Dad had misjudged the effect it would have on her. I felt terrible. I held her for a long time until those tears subsided.
I was just crushed inside. It was a clear case of taking a joke too far. I know she forgives me, but it was certainly not a father’s shining moment on this day.
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