April 1, 2012

Why I Hate April Fools Day

In the fourth grade I was in love with all things horse. I had horse figurines, horse books, horse pictures, horse everything. I wanted a horse SO BAD.

One morning before school, my mother and older brother woke me up. “Lisa!” (That was my nickname) “Get up! You won the horse! You won the horse!”

I rubbed sleep out of my eyes, confused. “What?”

My mom said, “I entered you in a contest at McDonalds to win a horse and you WON! We just heard it announced on the radio!”

My eyes must have been as big as saucers as her words sank in. “Really?”

She urged me to get up. “We have to call them to claim your prize!”

Sleepy and dazed at the thought of my dream finally coming true, I followed her and my brother out into the living room. She picked up the phone and dialed, handing me the receiver.

“What do I say?” I asked.

“Say, ‘I’m the one that won the horse,’” she replied.

At the other end of the phone, a young male voice answered, “This is McDonalds. How may I help you?”

In a voice shaking with excitement, I said, “I’m the one that won the horse.”


“I’m the one that won the horse!”


Surprised and confused that I’d been hung up on, I looked to my mother for answers. She was doubled over from laughter. My brother was actually on the floor rolling around.

“April fools!”

As a deeply heartbreaking sense of betrayal overtook me, I burst into tears and ran back to my room. It took my mom half an hour to calm me down.

I have disliked April Fools Day ever since.


  1. Um. I don't even think that's funny. I can see a brother doing that, but a MOTHER? :-( (Maybe because I also wanted a horse really badly.)

  2. That's cruel. They only work if they're clever and they don't hurt anyone (with the exception of a few selected politicians and world leaders).

  3. It tells funnier than it reads, but yes, my mother did that to me. What's horrible is she did it again a few years later, telling me my grandfather (who lived in Idaho) had a mare who had just had a foal and grampa was going to give the foal to me. I was fourteen, but when I realized she'd done it again, I cried my eyes out...

  4. That cruelty is why I have always hated April Fool's Day "jokes." They're not funny when they're done at the expense of someone's feelings and I don't understand how or why people who perpetrate these mean acts of cruety don't comprehend what's wrong with the behavior. In fact, most of them get defensive and accusatorily ask "Where's your sense of humor?" as though I am the one lacking a sound emotional constitution. I think I'd rather have compassion, love, joy and admiration than whatever it is that drives someone to be a cruel bully and call it a joke.

    Sorry to hear your mother, of all people, did this to you. That's the worst betrayal of all when the one person in the world who's supposed to protect you from this exact kind of hurt is the one who causes it. My mother was emotionally and physically abusive but she never played practical jokes on me. She was honest about her abuse, at least.

    You give me new reasons to like you, Melissa, everytime I visit your blog :)


  5. Thanks Sarah. I really don't think Mom was being deliberately cruel...she just lacks that bit of judgement in her personality that would prevent her from making the wrong choices. Consequences don't occur to her until after the fact. It did result in some of her actions appearing to be abusive, but I've met a lot of people whose parents were much worse...especially from that generation!

    I'm so sorry to hear your mom was one of them. You sound like you turned it around and grew into a responsible, caring adult. It's amazing how some children grow up and become just as abusive, and others use it as an example of what NOT to do.