I walk back into the show in a panic and ask Ben if he saw anyone in the parking lot. This is in the late nineties. My precious collection of CDs has been stolen. It is two months before Napster. CDs cost about $18.50. It will take me nine months of lawn-mowing to repurchase them. Panic sets in.
I live in a small farmtown in New England. I run out of the show, missing my friend’s band that I already paid for. “Does anyone else have anything stolen?” “Who would steal a bunch of Boston hardcore CDs and the soundtrack to Swingers?”
Now there are others concerned. People walk out on the band to check their cars. Nope. Just me. Too many people ask if I locked the car. Everyone treats me like the girl who got pregnant junior year (“What did you think was going to happen?”) Only now the kids I gave rides to start to feel responsible. My car is a piece of shit 1989 Corolla. There’s no “lock” button.
The guy joking about being engaged is at best pointing out how he’s still totally single. At worst he’s pranked some poor girl who sits up three nights a month wondering if she’ll ever have children.
Then I remember just feeling really low. I was poor and the only thing I loved was music and now it was all gone. If I had money for a nice car with electric locks, maybe I’d be more in the habit. It didn’t just ruin my night, I was staring into an abyss of long drives with nothing but ’90s candypop radio.
When I finally get home I get a lecture from my parents. Then I go upstairs. My CDs are on the floor of my unlocked bedroom in my parents unlocked house. There’s a note in Ben’s handwriting that says, “A dissertation on locking your car.”
That prank was fucking dumb in high school. And today, April Fool’s Day, my FB feed is full of people in their 30s making “pranks.” We’re engaged! I’m giving up photography to work for a hedge fund! Just bought this house (picture of mega mansion)!
Unless we are talking about PrankItFWD, a prank is a joke you make where the ending is you laughing at someone else. Then you get other people who are not their acquaintance to join in. That’s like a whole row in “bad form” bingo. Unmanly at best, but downright cowardly at worst.
Last year, even John Oliver made a special plea not to go there:
The really, really sick thing about April Fools’ is that you get a view into the world that people want you to see. The guy joking about being engaged (Dude, you’re 30, get it together) is at best pointing out how he’s still totally single and getting it on the regs. At worst he’s pranked some poor girl who sits up three nights a month wondering if she’ll ever have children. Her friends from high school might see her tagged in a fake engagement ring photo and they won’t get the joke.
And the mansion? The sweet new job? Buddy boy, life is not a contest to see who from your graduating class can have it all together. I mean, it is. But that’s not how you win.
If you did post a little fib today or make a joke on some poor girl at work: Maybe just decide right now that it’s your last one, m’kay? At least you’re not this guy: