This April Fools I was the victim of the best – and worst – April Fools Day prank ever. And the instigator didn’t even know it.
You may have heard ADM Mullen came to our fair city earlier in the week. It was a great visit. As part of the planning team, I had invested months of effort in preparation for his arrival, and two days before he was to land it almost didn’t happen.
The staff called and asked, “What would be the impact if he couldn’t come?”
We knew that was always a possibility. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is pulled in about a million directions and with the world in turmoil the idea that he might have to re-prioritize always loomed in the background. We just hoped it wouldn’t happen.
And just like that, it sounded like we were out of luck.
But that wasn’t the April Fools Day joke. That was real.
As I was driving home after delivering welcome baskets to the hotel, I got another phone call. A good friend said he had heard that one of the members of the advance team had been rushed to the hospital enroute to Boise. Without his advance team, if ADM Mullen was on the bubble about coming (which he was), losing his advance team would almost certainly push him over the edge.
I knew right then that the visit was doomed. I began to prepare my wife for the worst. As the organizers of an historic visit to our state, we were about to become pariahs. All the work put in by all the volunteers was about to be tossed in the trash. We would have to move. Change our email addresses and phone numbers. If I still had hair I would have had to dye it a different color.
I called the Joint Staff for an update. The officer I talked to said the afflicted officer was fine, and on the flight to Boise.
I was confused, “I thought you had to rush him to the hospital,” I said.
“What are you talking about?”
“He doesn’t have food poisoning. He’s sitting right here.”
Then it hit me. “It’s April first, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is.”
My “friend” could not have timed his call any better. It was the best – and worst – April Fools Day joke I ever got.
My only consolation is knowing I have almost a year to dream up my revenge…