I’ve always enjoyed playing jokes on others. When I was younger I would constantly torment siblings and friends. Like the time I woke up my little sister one Saturday around midnight and told her she needed to get dressed quickly or she would be late for school. When she walked into the living room wearing her school jumper and saw me watching Saturday Night Live she burst into tears. The poor thing was in Kindergarten.
Or the time I typed up a letter from the Tallahassee Police Department and mailed it to my college roommate explaining that he was being investigated for an “unusually high number of bounced checks” and was not permitted to leave the county until the investigation was concluded. This sent my roommate into a rage, as he was leaving in three days for the mother of all spring break trips in Cancun, Mexico. For two days he tried, unsuccessfully, to reach this fictitious police officer. Finally, he begged me to drive him to the police station (he didn’t have a license) so that he could get this all sorted out. On our way to the police station I pulled into the parking lot of a local pub. “Let’s go have a beer,” I said. “I have something to tell you.” When I explained what I had done he literally screamed like someone had just put a sword through his gut. “I don’t know if I should hug you or beat the shit out of you!” he yelled, then worked himself into a drunken stupor.
Given my propensity to have fun at the expense of others, it shouldn’t be any surprise that I’ve already started with my two-year old daughter. This week my wife told her that she would be getting her first haircut soon. “I’m going to get a haircut, Mommy?” she said. “Yes,” I said, stepping in to seize the opportunity. “We’re going to cut your hair just like Daddy’s.” What makes this funnier than you may think is that my head is shaved. In my late twenties my hair began taking flight. Since then I’ve relieved myself the burden of thinning hair by taking it down to the scalp.
At the suggestion of a shaved head, my daughter’s eyes grew round. “You’re going to cut my hair like yours, Daddy?” she asked. “Yeah,” I said. “Then it won’t get in your eyes and we won’t have to comb it when you get out of the tub.” Being the sweetheart that she is, she said, “Okay, you cut my hair cut like yours, Daddy.”
I felt my daughter had missed the joke altogether. She actually wanted a hair cut like her Daddy’s. Nothing like a daughter completely enamored with her father. It brings a tear to my eye.
When I got home from work last night, I came to find that the joke had actually played quite well. My wife said that she was talking to our daughter about the weekend. “We’re going to go on a hike,” she told my daughter. “We’re going to go to the movie theater to see Shrek 3. And we’re going to give you your first haircut.”
My daughter began to pout. “I don’t want you to shave my head,” she said with tears welling in her eyes. “Oh, no Sweetie,” my wife said. “Daddy was just joking.”
I felt terrible that I had taken advantage of a child’s gullibility. That being said, it will not deter me from doing it again.