Always the fool…

Melissa Stagnaro

I love the very idea of April Fool’s Day. It’s the perfect opportunity to truly torture your friends, family and coworkers. I mean, what could be more fun?

Even though, in theory, it is one of my favorite days of the year, I usually don’t take full advantage of the opportunity. The best initiatives always require forethought and planning, and I’m too much of a last minute kind of girl. My brilliant ideas usually come after it is too late to put them into action.

As a result, I’m more often on the receiving end of these harmless pranks and jokes than the one dishing them out. I know it’s all in good fun, so I’m a pretty good sport.

Over the years I’ve been the “victim” of some good ones, whether they’ve taken place on April 1 or not. Like the time my friends Brian and Ed put a personal ad in the Washington City Paper on my behalf. I don’t remember every detail, but I do remember it listed one of my “turnoffs” as people who closely guard their personal space.

The scariest part? The fact that once other people I knew were able to pick out which was me out of the hundreds and hundreds of other ads on the page.

There was also the time, during my college years, when my friend Arden made about a hundred photocopies of a somewhat scandalous photo of me. A photo, I might add, that I didn’t know existed. Each copy was individually captioned.

He plastered them all over my college dorm room, including in the shower, under the mattress, between the pages of my textbooks, inside clothes hanging in my closet… Let’s just say he was thorough. They were still turning up months later. And a year and a half later, when I moved out, I found a few more.

My friends, of course, thought this was hilarious. They still do. I just consider myself lucky that it was before the days of digital photography.

Then there were the ‘rancid’ shirts.

We all have words or phrases we use too much. My junior year at Manhattan, that word was ‘rancid’ for me. My friends John and Mike decided to inform me of that fact by having t-shirts made featuring a picture of me that was, well, rancid. (In my defense, it was taken when I had the flu.)

The unveiling was priceless, timed perfectly with the arrival of cases of t-shirts we had ordered for an orientation event. There was actually a split second when I imagined the entire incoming freshman class wearing the hideous image of me, under which was the single word caption ‘rancid.’ It was incredibly traumatic.

Of course, the joke didn’t die there. For years, John wore the  shirt whenever he hadn’t done laundry. Which was, unfortunately, often.

All of those friends live a couple of hundred miles away or more at this point. But I still count myself lucky to have survived this much of the day unscathed.

I won’t count my poisson d’Avril before they are hatched, though. Who knows what the afternoon has in store…