I love April Fools Day. I probably love it a little too much. I will blame this obsession on my dad. When I was in elementary school in Gainesville I remember my dad running into my room waking me up with an excited urgency saying “Mac! Get your snow clothes on, the ground is covered!” For a Floridian, this was unprecedented. Had I a calendar or any reason at all to keep a schedule I would have known April Fools Day was coming. Instead, I jumped out of bed and started throwing on my snow pants and jacket only to walk out the front door and realize I had been duped. My own dad. Traitor. So here I am now, still acting out like a spiteful adolescent, exacting my vengeance on anyone in my periphery.
One of the chemicals we use in the field is KMnO4 (potassium permanganate) which is a powder we put into our nets to neutralize another chemical. KMn04 stains everything it touches and we always come back from work with brown fingers or blotchy pants. For this April Fools, my partner in crime, Adam Chasey and I, gathered up all of our coworker’s dive booties and put a small amount of the potassium in each foot. Hoping that they wouldn’t notice until getting into the water, we thought it would be hilarious to see everyone with dark brown feet.
Out of the five pairs of shoes we filled, only one was successful, but still worth the effort. We laughed for a good two days about our cleverness until karma started exacting its revenge.
The following Friday, I spilled a drink on my laptop, rendering it useless for four days. Then my iPod broke. Then one of my cameras broke. Then on Monday, I broke my wrist playing flag football. Then I had to file my taxes.
I’m not quite sure what kind of lesson I learned and I’d hate to tie it all back to a benign April Fools Day prank, but I can’t help but wonder as I’m sitting in my room instead of in the field, typing on a sticky keyboard with one hand, poor, listening to the radio, where did I go wrong?