Once upon a lifetime, I worked for a small construction outfit. One job took me out of town during the week, including April Fool’s Day, possibly my favorite holiday. Solace arrived in the form of pranking the crew foreman, a particularly surly fellow unpopular with, well, everybody.
Andy* (more about him in my 2011 Season’s Greetings post here) customarily drove the gang back to the lodgings from the jobsite at day’s end while I tended to the dump truck and other equipment. After he phoned over the first night to my segregated room, issuing a strangled invitation to join him and the others for beer, pizza and cable tv sports - which I declined in favor of Taco Bell, a good book and hot bath - he pretty much left me to my own devices each evening. I’m certain the Bossman compelled him to make the call to avert claims of bias.
Andy’s routine upon reaching his room was to take care of all the paperwork, make arrangements for the next day’s needs, phone the office and a dozen other administrative tasks while the crew took turns draining the hot water for showers and downed beer in front of the sports channel. Andy held the keys and probably the only drivers license in his room, and after filing the day’s reports, he would pass out (his own brand of high-octane spirits fueling his homework), awaken around 9 p.m. and consider feeding his crew dinner at whatever roadhouse won that evening’s vote. One of those ride-alongs was more than enough for me.
April 1 dawned chilly that year, the sun struggling to break through the mist that hung over the region. I was onsite at 7 a.m. with a load of washed sand when Andy arrived with the crew, and he was loaded for bear.
Most mornings he shook off the previous night’s overindulgence, but some mornings the crew set about doing quiet maintenance and similar low-decibel jobs until coffee and aspirin quelled Andy’s morning-after symptoms. That day he displayed none of the remorse associated with overdoing it.
Seems he’d spent an inordinate amount of time trying to puzzle out why his hand wouldn’t slide into his stitched-shut jeans pockets (which still held his keys, chapstick, pocket knife and change), and then pulled over twice on the way in to search out the sickly sweet smell in the heating system that he suspected was a radiator leak (it wasn’t, and I don’t think he ever did find the broccoli we stuffed into the vent over the floorboards).
He couldn’t understand what was happening because it did not occur to him That April 1 was, after all, April Fool’s Day.
Worst of all, his prized possession was a nearly new pair of Red Wing boots from his Dad’s closet which, as the day wore on, began to reek of garlic. Fortunately he had his old pair of boots back in his room, but rather than neutralize the odor with baking soda or some other remedy, he unwisely ran those Red Wings under the hot water tap which effectively infused the leather and insole with overpowering garlic aroma.
These boots hung outside on his truck for the rest of that week. He couldn’t bring them in the room, couldn’t stash them inside the truck, a visible kick-me sign and trigger for laughter from the crew who were immeasurably cheered by that April Fool’s Day stunt.
Speaking of April Fool’s jests, ever wonder what Toledo would look like without high-speed connectivity? Check out this YouTube video and see if it reminds you of anyplace in particular. Then support WinlockNeedsInternet on April 7.
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April 4 City Council meets 6 p.m first and third Mondays at Town Hall. Visit website here or call (360)864-4564 for details.
April 6 Toledo Senior Center Nutrition Lunch menu features Salisbury Steak with mashed potatoes, baby carrots, peaches, and dinner roll, April 8 Potato Soup and ham sandwich plus green salad and berry crisp. Nutrition Lunches Wednesday and Friday are sponsored in part by Area Agency on Aging. Cost is $3 for those 60+ years of age. Reservations required. Contact Diana, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (360)864-2112.