Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Forgiven April Fool's Lie

April 1, 1977 fell on a Friday, and I felt particularly mischievous. A senior in college, I compromised Christian principles a lot anyway, so I convinced myself that outright lying for the sake of April Fools fun wasn't really lying. (Perhaps my current practice of manipulating the truth for April Fool jokes also constitutes lying, but I don't want to get into that discussion today.) Clearly, the various pressures of preparing for my Comprehensive Exam and applying to graduate schools (which didn't end up accepting  me) gave me a need to let off steam, and April Fool's Day provided the perfect opportunity!

So, when my friend Nanci waltzed into Bertrand Common (where a number of us Dominican students habitually congregated when we didn't attend classes), I greeted her with a wide grin and announced, "Nan! I got accepted to grad school at U.C. Berkley!" When I saw the look of excitement and pride overtake her face, the realization that I'd successfully convinced her of my bald-face lie pulled me into convulsive laughter.

Instead of arousing her suspicions, however,  my laughter reinforced my story--our nearly four years of friendship had taught Nanci that I often laugh in reaction to excitement. So, please don't judge her as gullible; understand instead how I capitalized on my natural tendencies to lend credibility to my prank.

When she began broadcasting my supposed good news to others, however, I knew I must end the ruse. Cerebral Palsy can add difficulty to regaining composure after I've been laughing hard, so I struggled as Nan  continued to boast about my "accomplishment." Finally, I managed to confess that it was an April Fool's joke.

Over the years, we've kidded each other about that incident, with Nan pretending that she's never forgiven me. I shouldn't have done something so mean, and I definitely, most definitely, sinned by telling such an unmitigated lie, so I appreciate her graciousness to laugh about it. But, even more, I marvel at her faith in me. How touching that she believed U.C. Berkley, which only accepted 50 first-year grad students per semester into its journalism program, would actually accept me. I praise God for such a loyal friend.

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