The Best Fool is an April Fool! 28 March, 2007Posted by paralleldivergence in April Fools, Brad & Phil, jokes, Life, My Thoughts, pranks.
I was looking at a calendar the other day and realised April 1st is coming up again. I’m not usually the kind that plays pranks on others, but it reminded me of one day many years ago when I did exactly that on my family. Don’t worry, it’s nothing as lame (athough effective) as wrapping every item of a workmate’s office space with tinfoil as shown beautifully in this image, my prank took preparation and cunning. If you’d like to know more, read on…
My mother loves the lottery. In particular, she loves Lotto. I don’t know – the coloured balls, the numbers, the big machine, the suspense as each ball is seemingly totally randomly selected and dropped – there must be something interactive about it, but I just can’t see it. All I see are the astronomical odds of actually winning anything. Anyway, my Mum plays the Lotto religiously. Every week, without fail she completes two full Lotto tickets – one always containing the same sets of numbers (I swear she’s memorized them), the other a “lucky pick” ticket. From time to time, she picks up a minor prize, but I’m sure she has to be behind after more than 25 years.
Now, just after I got married, we’d often be invited for dinner (I think she thought I could do with a regular cooked meal), and often we’d be there on Lotto Night to witness the ritual. “Shutup! The Lotto’s on! Get me a pen!” - conversations had to immediately cease in preparation for the joy that was sure to come, but never seemed to arrive. Well that was it for me. When I realized that the next April Fool’s Day also happened to fall on a Lotto Night, I knew I had to act. I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. I had three weeks in which to plan a way for my Mum to “win” the Lotto.
It all started that night. Straight after another unsuccessful Lotto draw and a handful of circled numbers on her two “lucky” tickets, I started the “social engineering” (I didn’t know it was “social engineering” back then, but it was). “Mum, why do you bother playing the Lotto every week when you never win?”, I casually asked. “I enjoy the thrill of the draw and I know one day my numbers will come up.”, she replied. “How can I win the Lotto if I don’t play it?”.
OK, so it’s true, you can’t win it if you don’t play it – but playing it doesn’t mean you will win it. But I didn’t want to tell her that. “You’ve been playing for so long though. Has anyone ever won it on their first go?”, I asked her. “Of course they have. You hear about first-time players winning the big one all the time!”, she told me. “It’s all just chance – but you’ve got no chance if you don’t play.”
The stage was set. As far as Mum knew, she’d “convinced” me to join with her in playing the Lotto. She was so proud of herself. The next week, I rang her after that night’s draw. “How’d you go Mum?”. As usual, she told me that she’d won nothing. I told her the best I got was three numbers – but just like she said, it was fun to play – I didn’t actually buy a ticket. But what I did do was tape the Lotto draw that night on the VCR. The draw started at 9:25pm and I set it taping from 9:15. I took careful note of the numbers that were drawn. 28, 15, 6, 41, 32, 27. I still remember them to this day.
The next week on Lotto Night, I waited until Mum rang me. It was the same story on both sides. No winner, but it’s great fun. I cajoled her to invite us over for the next week – the April Fool’s Lotto Night. The following day, I headed to the store and completed two Lotto tickets. In Game 8, I crossed the six numbers that actually dropped two draws earlier. All of the rest of the games were completely random. I now had my two official entries and my videotape. All was in readiness. I had told no-one of my fiendish plot.
After another (free) fabulous home-cooked meal, I excused myself to use the facilities at 9:15pm and told them I’d turn on the TV for the draw. I slid in the tape and pressed play. A strangely reminiscent episode of Married…With Children was nearing its end. My parents and wife joined me in front of the TV while the ads were on, just before “the draw“.
“Mum! Would you like to check my tickets too?” I said as I handed them to her. One by one the numbers fell. 28. She was furiously searching through 40 games, circling about four numbers. 15. More searching. She’d done this so many times before that she’d finish well before the next number dropped. 6. You have no idea how hard it is to compose yourself when you know what’s about to happen. 41. By this stage, my “winning” ticket was now promoted to the first one she checked through – but all the time, there was nothing but silence from her. 32. I noticed her hands were starting to tremble a little and there was a trickle of sweat on her brow. She dropped the other tickets on the floor and was now concentrating solely on this one. The whole time I just watched her as my wife and Dad chatted… 27.
Oh. My God. I knew I would get a reaction but I never expected her to start jumping up and down on the couch and shrieking! For about five minutes, she could not speak. When she finally composed herself after guzzling a glass of cold water that my Dad brought, the first thing she said was “Two million dollars – you’ve won two million dollars!“. My wife took the ticket and it started again – I didn’t think about that… Now what do I do? How can you fake surprise and total joy – especially if you’re not a woman?
That night never seemed to end. I’d had my fun and I just wanted to go, but all three of them had already worked out how to spend almost half of the “money”. So, did I tell them then? No. I actually gave Mum the ticket so she could go down in the morning to claim the prize.
That night, nobody slept. Mum called early in the morning to ask me to go to the Lotteries Office with her but I told her I had to work. It was about 10am when my office phone rang. It was the Lotteries Office asking me to come and collect my Mum.
Mum didn’t speak to me for about a month. My wife said I was the cruellest person in the world. My Dad thought it was hilarious! What is it with women huh? Mum still plays the Lotto.
Twelve months later, we were invited to Mum’s for dinner and we didn’t even notice it was again April 1st. We had another great meal. At the end Mum and Dad showed us this incredible itinerary and the tickets for the round the world trip they were taking in the summer. “Did you win the Lotto?”, I asked jokingly.
“No, we spent your inheritance.”, she replied. It wasn’t a joke.