Monday, August 29, 2011

Real Simple Story

I subscribed to Real Simple magazine a few months ago. I love this magazine! It includes great fashion ideas, random facts, tips, stories, and recipes. (Not to mention great photos and illustrations.) In the latest issue, I found this story, which I think has a great point. Laughter goes a long way!

The First Time My Daughter Played a Practical Joke on Me

In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. After all, I was the runner-up for Most Mischievous in my senior-class poll. To feel right in the world as an adolescent, I needed to rebel—and I did so by tying a soccer player's boxers to his car antenna, safety-pinning people's sleeves together during assembly, and making up elaborate scavenger hunts that required stealth and trickery. So I ought to have expected to get punked by my five-year-old daughter. But I didn't. An embarrassing rookie mistake.

In the kitchen one day, while my back was turned, Phoebe put a glob of mayonnaise in my glass of milk. When I drank it, the mayo hit my tongue like something horribly curdled. I rushed to the sink, spitting and gagging. When I gathered myself, I turned to Phoebe. "I put mayo in your milk!" she exclaimed, wide-eyed, obviously afraid she was about to get in trouble.

I just looked at her. "Wait—you did this because you thought it would be funny?"

She nodded.

"That's my girl!" I said, laughing. Phoebe seemed delighted.

How could I be angry? A prankster who procreates is going to get what's coming to her. In my case, I've gotten my comeuppance repeatedly: Phoebe, now 16, has three younger siblings who are known to dollop lotion on light switches and tape up faucets that later spray you in the face.

So often our culture expects us to show our love for one another through exchanging greeting cards and stuffed bears holding Mylar balloons. But as Phoebe and my other children remind me constantly, a prank—and the hysterical laughter that it inspires—can bond a family just as much. A beautifully wrapped box of fake dog poop sometimes says "I love you" in the most memorable way. And as it shows up again and again—on the bath mat, the Persian rug, the front stoop (um, thanks, Phoebe!)—it proves that funny is a gift that keeps on giving.

Julianna Baggott

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