Easter on April Fools Day…Or April Fools Day on Easter? This time the Divine Prankster beat me to the punch. Even still, I would not let such a day go uncelebrated! Rightfully, the glory of Jesus Christ’s surprising victory over sin and death would gather all the attention…and I would thus be free to play my tiny tricks like a little church mouse. And play I must! After all, “if God so loved us, we also must love one another” (1 Jn 4:11). We prank because He first pranked us. We prank because we love.
I knew my target: The choir director. For blog’s sake, we shall call him Maestro. A jovial character whose hearty laugh could be heard (frequently) all the way across the church, I judged him to have the kind of disposition which could receive a fair amount of ridiculous prankery before the friendship was at stake. Plus, having lived in Dallas for less than a year, he would not know my prank record. So plans were set in motion.
In search of inspiration, I turned to YouTube, and was captivated by a greeting card prank. (Hmm….is this becoming a trend?) It involved extricating the sound button and wiring from a Hallmark card and then strategically replacing them in a location where they would be set off unexpectedly.
Now, there are two types of musical cards: one that plays when the card opens, and one that plays when you push a button. If you repeat this prank, I caution you to use the former. Foolishly, I thought the button would be easiest to place and set off, and the first terrible card I found with such a button was one that played “Who Let the Dogs Out?” So I bought it, cut it apart and saved the pictures. I placed the button in a small box to make it easier to quickly plant.
Having seen the staff mailboxes at the church, I knew they were akin to small metal drawers. If I could only plant the button behind the drawer, it would play each time Maestro shut his box. To be sure, I carried out a test run in my roommate’s file cabinet. Worked like a charm.
The Saturday night before Easter Fools, when staff members were busily preparing for the 3 hour long vigil Mass, I asked one to quickly open the doors of the office, so I could carry out my plans. Unlocking the door, she called out, “Maestro, are you in here?” From the back cubicle of a dark office, a solitary voice responded, “Yes!”
I stood silently while she disappeared to make small talk with the music man. Then she returned, motioned me into the mail room, and bid me to hurry while she stood guard. What?! But couldn’t he hear me? What was he doing back there? When would he finish? How long before my impending doom?!?!
I pulled out his mailbox drawer, and realized that the small box I had placed the button and speaker in was not small enough. It exceeded the height of the drawer! Frantically, I began tearing the cardboard box apart, and taping it to the back of the metal drawer, unable to test my work and fearing my cover would be blown (especially by the two other staff who walked in on my covert operation and had to be hushed and sworn to secrecy). Feeling it was as good as it was going to get, I threw the picture of the dog in the drawer, and hurried out of the office. Not more than two minutes later (whew!), Maestro exited the office, and I, still talking with my friend, said hello and cracked a joke about his t-shirt, too informal for an Easter vigil Mass. On the other hand, I was wearing jeans and a casual shirt, because I had come only to prank. Details, details….
A week passed and I heard nothing from anyone about Maestro’s dog, so I could only conclude that the music never worked. But oh! happy fault! Because it meant the prank must go on. As they say…
So I took a second dog which I had cut from the original card, wrote the words, “Who Let the Dogs out?”, placed the picture in an unmarked envelope, and mailed it to Maestro at the office.
Another week passed. Still, no word.
I would have to move to Phase 3. Surely, Phase 3 would make him talk. But what was Phase 3? It made no difference that I had no plan; I was too invested to stop now. So what kind of grand finale would drive Maestro mad enough to share his perplexity with his friends, coworkers or Facebook wall? A real dog? It could harm them both, said the naysayers. A stuffed dog? Maybe, but why? I had established a clear theme (letting dogs out), so no matter how meaningless, it had to be perpetuated; otherwise, the connection could not be certain.
Then I found THIS, and no further questions remained.
It was a hollow plastic cookie jar that sang, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” when the head was lifted. Glorious in all its splendor.
Why this, you ask? Why not.
Bursting with joy, I immediately (it was 10:30pm) called my former roommate, who readily agreed to help me carry out my crooked plans. We discussed and decided. The next day, I visited her on my lunch break with a large red bag, carrying the musical cookie dog. Inside were 5 fake cookies, which looked like this:
That evening she left the bag in the choir room before rehearsal, marked for him to find and open. Almost an hour after rehearsal let out, I received a text from the Choir Director himself, saying, “Are you playing a practical joke on me?”
Why do you accuse me of such tomfoolery? I’m shocked and mildly appalled…
I pressed the man for details before confessing to the crime, but he was just as confused as I was about the whys and wherefores. Dogs? Cookies??
Just tell me you understand the fine details of Redemption, dear brother. Some mysteries are simply meant to be lived.