So obviously yesterday’s post was an April Fool’s Joke. Steven’s right; I would rather sell my pants than go without a camera.
But it reminded me of last year’s April Fool’s joke. That one really kinda/sorta got me in trouble…
It started during an innocent dinner conversation on Saturday, March 31, 2007. As Shari and I were having a pleasant meal with my parents, my dad asked me to welcome visitors and introduce the church service that Sunday morning. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself. “This could be a perfect opportunity!”
So I asked dad if I could play an itty-bitty April Fool’s joke on the entire congregation. He obviously wanted me to describe it, so I explained my scheme. I would tell the church that Shari and I, who had been married only a year at that time, were expecting a baby.
You need to understand something else: a lot of these people have watched me grow up since I was 5. Also, I’m the student pastor, so even if they haven’t known me as long as some, there is a relationship there. If we were to announce we’re pregnant, a handful of people in the crowd would probably be excited for us. These are the people I was targeting.
The plan (as I described it to the family) was to tell them we’re pregnant, wait a few seconds, say, “April Fools!” and walk off. What actually happened was that I got up there and gave the following speech.
“Well, I had a special meeting with my mother and father last night, and Shari and I felt it might be appropriate to inform the church of what is to be a major change in our lives (this was set up to make it sound like we were taking a job elsewhere). After a long talk, we decided to let you know…that we’re going to be parents!”
At this point, I saw a few smiling faces, and there were quite a few people clapping their hands in minor applause. Now was the scheduled time for the “April Fools” line. Or at least it was supposed to be.
“Well…everyone find someone you don’t know and shake their hand!”
That’s right: on the fly, I had decided to NOT correct my joke as quickly as my family believed I was going to. Shari was freaking out in the choir, turning to everyone she could, saying, “It’s a joke! It’s an April Fools joke! I’m not pregnant!” Meanwhile, the crowd is shaking hands and saying hello to each other.
I quickly realized that if I didn’t fix it soon, I would be in major hot water in an hour or two. So, while everyone is still talking to one another, I take a moment and say into the mic, “While you’re shaking hands, be sure to tell the person, ‘Happy April 1!’ Some people even call this…April…Fool’s…Day. Understand, everyone? April Fool’s Day?”
The only problem is that about 75% of the crowd was still so engrossed with saying hello to each other that they didn’t hear that part. They were chit-chatting with one another, having a grand old time, and only 1/4 of them didn’t realize that I was not in line to be a proud papa just yet.
The aftermath: Shari and I were asked for MONTHS if we were really pregnant. Not only did it take forever to undo that April Fool’s joke, but poor Shari had to field such questions as, “Why, girl, why aren’t you showing? It’s been about 6 months, right?” Shari is still rolling her eyes at the whole thing.
I did feel a little bit guilty about some of our older members, since they don’t hear as well and I was fixing the joke during the middle of an uproar, so they were almost guaranteed to miss the joke. I love the older people in our church; many of them have become like extended family over the years. I did field each and every question they had about the joke later. I think most of them thought it was funny, but a few seemed really disappointed that little Ryan wouldn’t be running around the church soon (or “Sharari,” as some of the girls in L1FT say).
Just remember to joke carefully, people. Joke very carefully.