April Fools is a white holiday and I hate it.
I even hate the word “prank.” It sounds like a fart that accidentally came out of a penis. Pranks. How many black people do you know who were involved in a prank? Even its synonyms are stupid.
I bet you’ve never witnessed a negro “caper.” I suspect my homeboy, Thomas, studied so hard because he felt the same way. Thankfully, he has never been involved in any “tomfoolery.” A teacher once had to explain that she wasn’t accusing me of bestiality when I angrily denied her allegations of “horseplay.” I steer clear of practical jokes, pranks, antics, larks, escapades, gambits, ruses, jigs or—the most racist of all pranks—“monkeyshines.”
In fact, the closest I’ve ever been to a “highjink” is during the early ’90s, when my youngest sister and I, desperate to watch an Afterschool Special, convinced my grandmother that Bob Barker was injured in a brutal accident when the huge Showcase Showdown wheel came off its axle and rolled over him. We eventually came clean when she started “pleading the blood” and tried to send some anointing oil to the Price is Right set. She quickly forgave us after we used the one loophole available to black people who participate in a “shenanigan” (the word is always singular for us):
We said “sike.”
“Sike” is an ancient African word coined on the first Valentime’s Day (that’s how they spelled it back then) when Eve gave Adam an Edible Arrangement. According to my research, a very shady serpent sweet-talked Eve into picking the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. As soon as Adam bit into the delectable slice of watermelon (contrary to popular opinion, it was not an apple) he asked where she got the fruit. Whole World in His Hand Foods? Trader Josephs? Eve was about to assure her husband that she had permission from God when the snake suddenly whispered: “Sike.”
Since that historic day, the term has been used by black people to excuse their deception. Nat Turner said it after he told the plantation owner they needed a few extra machetes to help with the crops. It’s what Harriet Tubman said when she assured her slavemaster that she was just gonna run to the store. When Yeshua Ben Joseph rolled back the rock from his tomb and stepped out in his shiny new Easter suit, the Roman Legion received this previously undisclosed correspondence:
Dear Mr. Pilate,
I hope this letter finds you well. I regret to inform you that I have decided not to accept your crucifixion offer. I know you spent a lot of money on nails and wood, not to mention the construction permits. But after careful consideration and consulting with my dad, I must inform you:
The Risen Messiah
After reviewing the ample historical evidence, I now realize that I have been pranked. While I found this elaborate American shenanigan very amusing, you can stop now.
I will admit that the part where white people elected a semi-literate reality show host who uses Tang as a foundation almost convinced me. I knew Caucasians didn’t like the former president because he was so...umm…black articulate. But, while I would never underestimate White America’s vitriolic hate and self-delusion, I didn’t think you could be this stupid. Still, I went along with the joke.
I almost bought the whole Russia hoax. Yes, I called it a hoax. I almost saw through it when Robert Meuller’s report detailed the extensive Russian interference in the 2016 elections and you shrugged it off as partisan politics. Your joke was so good, I couldn’t tell if Democrats were in on it too or if they were just that politically inept. I still haven’t figured that one out.
If I’m being honest, you almost had me with the Ukrainian phone fiasco. Calling it “perfect” was too on the nose but you really blew the cover off your shenanigans with the impeachment trial. Or maybe it was the dozens of taxpayer-funded golf trips to Mar-a-Lago. Or perhaps it was the taxes. Or filling the courts with unqualified right-wing judges. Or William Barr as Attorney General. Or Betsy Devos as education secretary. Or a beer-chugging almost-rapist (allegedly) as a Supreme Court justice. Or the constant unabashed lying. Or the over-the-top political rallies filled with hillbilly extras straight out of Central Casting (The MAGA hats were a dead giveaway. You should have spent more on wardrobe).
But you know what really destroyed your hijinks?
The whole coronavirus thing.
I can believe that there’s an invisible disease that makes people cough to death. I even buy the part of the plot where the best doctors in the world figured out that the only way to fight it is: “go buy a lot of toilet paper and stay in the house.” Even though you obviously plagiarized the plot of Contagion and mixed it with The Walking Dead, I’ve seen how white people refuse the science behind vaccinations or global warming, so I wasn’t shocked that they believed COVID-19 was like the extra-strength flu. That’s not what ruined your prank.
It was the script.
Look, I know you went through great lengths to set this Trump “character” up as an inept, incompetent liar. But you could have at least made it look realistic by looking at what Bush did during the SARS epidemic or watched what Obama did during the Ebola crisis on your little Presidential reboot of Punk’d. Why did you have to include a part where he ranted at press conferences and played the Dozens with the White House Press Corps? Did you have to make him ignore the crisis for a whole month?
That was too much.
But y’all still fooled me.
That’s why I hate pranks.
Anyway, I gotta go run a few errands.
I’m sure that I’ll walk around and find everyone milling about as usual. When they see me wearing a face mask that only fits because I had to shave off my beard, they’ll point to the gloves covering my hands chapped from constantly dousing them in Dollar Tree hand sanitizer, and they’ll barely be able to contain their smiles. I bet they’ll think it’s hilarious how I assumed America was racist enough to elect an unabashedly white nationalist president who is so incompetent that his inaction might result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. I bet they’ll laugh at me for thinking I live in a country so rife with white supremacy that my fellow citizens would support him no matter what.
“APRIL FOOLS!” they’ll say as they double over in laughter. “Didn’t you hear us say ‘All Lives Matter?’ We love this country. Didn’t you see us stand for the anthem? We would never put a racist dotard in charge of this great nation!”
“Didn’t you hear us say we want America to be great?” they’ll say as they ridicule my mistrust. “Did you really think white people will do something so stupid?”
And then, they’ll scream: “Sike!”
I’m sure someone will.