April fools day is coming up, pranks will abound. My brother got my mom two years running with the simplest of pranks - he put salt in the sugar bowl before she got to her morning coffee. The first year it happened she thought it was about the worst coffee she had ever had, and decided then and there to start drinking her coffee black. One year later, she thought for no particular reason, to try sugar again, just on that very day - April first. She grew up in Japan and had no memory of this holiday, so it was purely coincidence that she picked that of all days to try sugar again. After being bested the second time by my smirking older brother, she gave up sugar in her coffee forever.

Pranks and practical jokes are best when they are funny, not mean spirited. For some reason, a video I saw on YouTube of a practical joke struck me as insanely funny: a comedian on his cell phone starts what sounds like one half of an angry argument. He's so loud that the bystanders can't help but overhear. You can tell some of them are taking interest in the argument. "You want a piece of me?!" The comedian is yelling into his cell, "alright then, come down here to the coffee shop. . ." and that's where it get's hilarious. He starts describing the bystander closest to him. I.E. "I'm right here, I'm the bald guy in a striped shirt. . ." the look on their faces abruptly changes as the bystanders realize what is happening, priceless.

Tricks and illusions are another kind of practical joke. No one knows how David Blaine, street magician takes bites out of quarters or makes card's rise in the air, but we enjoy being fooled. Unless we are being fooled by the three card Monty fellow. No matter how carefully you watch him slip the three cards around it is a always wrong what you pick. There has to be a trick, or the deck is special, because those guys are not in the business to lose money.

Some tricks and illusions are not so funny. I draw the line at mean spirited pranks. I have seen the show "punked" and I admit I don't get it. In the episode I saw a guy pulls into a parking space and the person parked next to him starts to complain he has scratched his car. The driver gets out to inspect the allegation, at which point the punker steps it up a notch. A full on altercation ensues in which car windows are smashed and vehicles are dented. Why are young people so bent on destroying things ? I would have preferred they take some guns out to a shooting range, as un politically correct as that sounds. I know it was a show and the car owned by the producers, but still, what a shame to destroy a perfectly good vehicle because it's "funny." NOT

The prank ended when the police showed up and they were actors.