Archive for Thursday, April 6, 2006

A bunch of April Fools nonsense

April 6, 2006

There can be no foolin', it's April. While that's hard to believe in and of itself -- where the heck has this year gone? -- it has been accompanied by plenty of weirdness.

I, of course, attribute that mostly to weather. How can you be normal, when winter really never happened, it was 60 and 70 degrees in January and February and we're on a dry-wet rollercoaster to boot? The moisture is what had me most concerned. I was in Oklahoma during the wildfires there and what they've done to the Okies and the Texans is ugly. We're having it in Kansas somewhat, too, and were even in a burn ban for awhile right here in Douglas County.

Then, of course, was the weirdness with the March 12 storm. While it rocked most of the area and especially hammered Lawrence, we pretty much escaped. That was good, no foolin'.

There's been plenty of other foolishness this year. That's one reason why I was so leery of April Fools Day Saturday. As a one-time practitioner of April Fool's jokes, I always keep an eye out. Honestly, I gave them up back in 2001 after being burned pretty bad. I'd had enough.

But, other than one attempted April Fool's joke by a friend claiming to come out of the closet (yeah, right), I escaped unscathed. Well, for the most part anyway. I was fooled into thinking that the Final Four Saturday was going to be rock 'em, sock 'em exciting. It wasn't. Florida hammered George Mason and UCLA did the same to LSU.

As it's been come to be known this year, it was the Final Bore. And, unfortunately after the noncontests Saturday, Monday's title game was no better. Florida absolutely dominated UCLA from start to finish. Or, so I'm led to believe. The city council meeting went longer than expected Monday and I missed the first half. But, when I saw Florida was up by 11 points, I knew I hadn't missed much. Council was exciting, too, no foolin'.

And, for the most part, there wasn't much interest around here with the Final Four or the title game. At least that's what I got from anyone I asked. My basketball interest has increased of late and this year's tournament was certainly entertaining. There were lots of good games and tons of upsets.

But, that wasn't my only interest. It didn't happen right away, but I "adopted" Florida along the way. My brother, Tim, got his Master's Degree in nuclear engineering from UF and I actually had a Florida U. t-shirt for years as a result. And, come to think of it, he was there my freshman year in college and I went to Gainseville on spring break. But, no, it wasn't the wild beach thing. He was married and I went there with my parents and little sister. No foolin'. Pretty wild, huh?

So, I was extremely pleased to watch the rest of the destruction Monday as the Gators devoured UCLA -- which I was a huge fan of back in the Bill Walton days -- during the second half to claim the title. That put Florida in pretty elite company with Ohio State and Michigan as the only schools to claim both football and basketball national titles. Throw in baseball and Florida is by itself.

No, there can be no foolin' this year. Florida is in a class by itself.

And, yes, I know, you want to know about the April Fool's joke that knocked me out of the fooling business. It goes back to 2001 when my sons were in France as part of the every-other-year trip that's done for Baldwin High School French students.

It was about 12:30 a.m. April 1 when the phone rang. It was Brett. Groggy from being awakened and not realizing -- at all -- what day it was, it was shocking, chilling, unbelievable to hear this come out of his mouth from thousands of miles and an ocean way.

"I'm so sorry. Anthony and I are being sent back early. We got caught in the bar last night and they're sending us home. We are so sorry," said Brett.

Well, after I don't know how long of dead silence as I tried to process what had just been said, he spoke again.

"April Fools," said Brett.

I still to this day don't know which emotions won out on that one. There was anger, there was relief, there was disbelief, there was you name it. But, after the shock wore off and the laughs died down, I decided never to pull an April Fools joke again. And, I haven't.

And, oddly enough, Brett and I were talking Sunday night and the subject came up. He reminded me of an all-time classic that I'd pulled on them. That one started the long tradition. But, I told him that paled in comparison to the one he'd pulled in 2001 that made me give them up. He didn't remember it.

No foolin'. I was shocked ... again.

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