Easter Monday is a more important holiday than Easter Sunday here in Italy. Why? I haven’t got a clue. Maybe somebody out there knows and can enlighten me. Anyway, Easter Monday this year falls on the most important kid holiday of the year: April Fools Day. I always loved the idea of April Fools Day. On this day you get full license to say or do something completely outrageous and silly, and then avoid any consequences just by saying, “April Fool!”
By the same token, you’ve got to be on your guard because someone else can make an April Fool out of you. I always hated being caught off-guard by an April Fool joke. I liked to come up with something from school: “Hey, Mom! I need to take an extra cookie in my lunch tomorrow. It’s Bring a Cookie for the Teacher Day.” Really, I just wanted to see if I could get an extra cookie out of her. She never fell for it.
My family was very competitive. We played for glory to the winner and humiliation to the loser. To fool a friend was fun, but to fool a family member was something to celebrate. To be taken-in by my little brother was the ultimate humiliation.
Being older, I had the advantage of experience, but once my brother figured out my Achilles Heel, I was forever doomed to be the butt of his April Fool pranks. That weakness: spiders. Sometime around age 9 he learned that all he had to do was scream “SPIDER!!!” and I would jump up, screaming. A couple of times he backed it up with a plastic spider saved from last Halloween.
No April Fool joke of mine ever even approached the success of the spider prank. Mom even got in on it, pinning a fake spider to her shirt, then pretending to try and brush it off right over me. I nearly overturned the table trying to get away. Daddy would focus his eyes on my shoulder and simply whisper, “Don’t move.” Of course that sent me screaming from the room.
I Skyped with Mom today, and while we were talking my brother called. I wish I could say that I’m no longer afraid of spiders, but that’s just not true. But from the safe distance of a few thousand miles, the spider prank has lost all of its power. Neither of them even mentioned April Fools Day. In some aspects growing up stinks, but at least there are no more fake spiders to deal with.