An April Fools Day Loveletter

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Amy and Me

Twenty years ago today, I pulled off a pretty cool April Fools’ Day joke. Here’s how it went:

In 1996, I was a fine piece of ass. At the time, I worked at Arthur Andersen, an organization known for its diversity by hiring graduates from both BYU AND Claremont. Whoa! I was surrounded by accounting nerds and a selection of straight-edged people that would make Mitt Romney say, “Golly.” I was, to put it lightly, different. I had an earring. I smoked cigarettes. I wore high top shoes with baggy acid washed jeans and flannel shirts. If not for the fact that I looked like I was 13 years-old and drove a Geo Metro, I would have been the Kanye West of the accounting industry.

Evidently, I didn't stay a bad ass for very long. How did that dork end up with the hottie?

Evidently, I didn’t stay a bad ass for very long. How did that dork end up with the hottie?

It was this bad boy image that lead me to want to play an April Fools day joke at work. We had been working on a project at Stanford University doing a physical inventory of the 100,000+ capital assets at the school and our work required us to be in close contact with people in various departments on campus. I thought it would be fun to have these departmental people call our boss, Mihran, and complain that we were getting drunk, stealing stuff and trying to hook up with the employees/students in the department. Such ribaldry would have set off alarms within Arthur Andersen to raise the mood from, “Golly,” to “Jeepers, we have a problem.”

My idea sprung into action when I convinced the woman I worked with in an engineering lab to tell Mihran that I had tequila on my breath and a penchant for leaving my fly down. (Not a stretch for anyone that knows me!) Feeling confident that my plan was coming together, I rallied my coworkers to join in the fun. They all assured me that their efforts would be forthcoming.

Sadly, they did not. One by one, my co-conspirators wimped out. Their excuses ranged from, “I don’t think this is a good idea. You’re going to get in trouble,” to, “No one would believe I’m drunk, I’m Mormon!”  On March 30, I had exactly zero people signed up to help. I knew I needed to do something drastic to make sure the joke wasn’t a flop.

On April 1, 1996, I showed up to work just like any other day, except that my coworkers had become a gaggle of Japanese school girls, giggling and pointing at me in anticipation of what was to come. Things did not go as planned. I returned from my morning work, slammed my clipboard down on my desk and exclaimed a word that caused several people around to blush. The joke had gone horribly wrong! Mihran said he received the message and that he was going to take drastic action to protect the good name of the company. He sent me back to the San Francisco office to face discipline by the managing partner. Mihran also scheduled an “All Hands” meeting to go over acceptable conduct while working at the firm. I was in deep shit, a development that did not go unnoticed by my coworkers Gary and a certain Amy Wilson. Amy had been acting as my supervisor on the project and, while the thought my whole shtick was a refreshing change from the pressed shirts I was working with, she was not romantically inclined towards me. (At least, that’s what I thought!) Gary and Amy took me outside and, nearly in tears, I explained my predicament. They were flabbergasted and supportive. I stormed out when I couldn’t stand it anymore, noting that Amy was particularly upset by my sad lot in life.

The “All Hands” meeting was brutal. Mihran lashed into a diatribe about the noble history of the firm and how shenanigans like the one I tried to pull off were unacceptable. He had prepared a fifteen minute speech that detailed expressly what the expectations were for people at the company, but the look in eyes of the staff in attendance told him that he didn’t need to spend that long. After five minutes of tongue lashing, he saw that his point had been made, and to avoid really demoralizing the crew, he announced, “April Fools!”

How did I know this? I was in on it! I got so mad at my friends/coworkers that I circled back with Mihran the night before, told him about what we were going to do and then reversed the prank to prank the non-prankers. To his credit, Mihran really got into the spirit, scheduling the meeting and even giving me a few hours off during the day, which I used to by a new car stereo for my Geo Metro. (I told you I was a bad ass!)

I returned to meeting room expecting to burst in and yell, “April Fools Day!” to my stunned coworkers, but, as I said, the meeting had been cut short and the beans had been spilled prematurely. When I finally saw everyone, they punched me and razzed my hair, admitting that I had gotten them good. I had pulled off the perfect prank! To celebrate, we all decided to go to a bar and watch the college basketball championship game together. Armed with the knowledge that my potential departure had caused an emotional reaction from Amy, I asked her if she wanted to share my umbrella to the parking lot. She agreed! Even better, after I withstood a headbutt at the bar from a drunken Irishman who was hitting on Amy, she grabbed my hand, locked me in the bathroom at the Polk Street Grill, and we made out.

That was the last night either of us was single.

We moved in together the next day.

We joined checking accounts the next month.

We bought a car together later that summer. (Goodbye Geo Metro!)

We got engaged the next year, married the year after that and had a baby boy seven years later.

Now, we have a fantastic life together and I can’t imagine a better way to spend 20 years. I didn’t think my little joke would alter the course of my entire life, but it totally did. It has been totally awesome.

Happy Make Out Anniversary, Amy. I love you.

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12 responses to “An April Fools Day Loveletter”

  1. Jean Wilson says:

    More details than I’d heard before. Awesome recounting, Paul. Do you remember how upset we were when we learned that you were buying a car together? It has been a delight and a pleasure to have your quirkiness added to our family.

  2. Marj Plumb says:

    You guys are such lesbians.

  3. Annie says:

    Ahhhh… this made my day!

  4. Regina says:

    When did the new mattress arrive?

    • Amy says:

      Just prior to joining checking accounts! We shared the cost, but my check to Paul for half bounced! We figured it would be easier if we just pooled our money.

  5. Kelly says:

    Fantastic, such s great story!! Happy Anniversary.

  6. KC says:

    Happy Day Fools! Glad the mattress made it into the comments, it’s one of my favorite parts. Also the drive home. And the cat cohabitation. xoxo

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