Sugar is Salt! Excerpt from DADDY THROWS ME IN THE AIR…

I am twelve or thirteen… 

It is April Fool’s Day!  What a blast!  This is the day you can play all sorts of tricks on people.

My friend Linda is spending the night.  We’re going to plan some really neat tricks to play on my parents.  My parents don’t laugh much and I think some tricks might make them laugh and have some fun.

We’re going to wait until they go to sleep.  Then sneak up to the kitchen to figure out the best tricks that we possibly can, to make my parents have a fun April Fool’s Day.

Linda says she has played tricks on her parents and they always thought the tricks were funny.  So we decide we might play some of the same tricks on my parents. Since she tried them out on her parents, we know that they’ll work.

Everyone in the house is asleep but us.  We slowly climb up the stairs to the kitchen.  So we’ll have just enough light to see what we’re doing, we turn on the light in the pantry. We snoop through the pantry looking for ideas.  Okay, what shall we do?

Linda says the first thing we can do is exchange the sugar for the salt.  She says that her parents thought it was funny when she played this trick on them.

Cool idea! We pour the sugar out of its container then fill it with salt. We’re giggling.  Can’t you just see their faces when they put salt into their coffee.  Okay, what else can we do?

The first thing, my parents do when they get up is to have their coffee.  So, what can we do to the coffee?  What looks enough like coffee that we could make an exchange without there being any notice?  Nestle chocolate drink mix?  No dirt, dirt would work!  We’re amazed by our clever ideas.  We sneak outside through the back entrance to scoop some finely ground dirt out of the flower bed.  We sprinkle the dirt into the coffee container laughing as we do.  This is going to be so cool!

Linda comments, “Your parents are going to just die when they drink their mud coffee with salt in it.  It’s going to be so funny!  They’re going to laugh their heads off!  Now what else can we do?”

I’m beginning to feel uneasy about all this. “I think we have done enough.”  She responds, “No we haven’t!  I bet we can think of a lot more funny April Fool’s things to do!”  I say, “No, this is enough to do.”  She says, “What a party pooper, you are!”

We run back downstairs full of excitement for what tomorrow will bring when my parents wake up to their April Fools surprises.  Linda and I stay up real late watching the late shows on TV.

The next morning, we’re sleeping very soundly, until we hear blood chilling screams coming from the kitchen.

My mother sounds hysterical.  She’s screaming and yelling for my father to come into the kitchen.

I wake up startled and quickly.  My heart jumps into my throat.  I freeze up inside. Oh, no, apparently my mother doesn’t think our tricks are funny. Please, God, don’t let mother yell and scream in front of my friend.

Linda and I sneak up the back stairs to the kitchen.  We wait and listen.  My father comes into the kitchen as my mother is screaming and telling him about her coffee.  She’s actually almost crying.

My father yells for me.  I’m scared to death.  What can I do?  What’s going to happen to me?  I was only playing a joke!

Linda looks frightened, too, but she says.  “What’s the big deal?  It’s only an April Fool’s joke.”

We muster up our courage and walk the rest of the way up the stairs to the kitchen.  We nervously say, “April Fools!  Did we surprise you?  Pretty good tricks, huh?”

My mother is hysterical and crying.  She’s going on about how her coffee is ruined and what a brat I am.

I say, “Mother, it’s only a joke.  We were just having some fun.  I thought that you would laugh and think it was funny.  It’s April Fool’s Day, you know, the day when people play jokes on people.”

My very angry crying mother says.  “Not only did you ruin my morning cup of coffee!  Now, I’m going to have to pour all of the coffee out because you put dirt in it.  You are a brat!  My whole day is ruined because of you!”

My father is trying to go along with my mother’s angry tirade, but he’s chuckling under his breath.  He comments, “The kids were just trying to do some tricks.  Relax, it’s no big deal. We can get more coffee.”

When my father says this, my mother just glares at me and I feel a chill go down my spine.  I feel my mother’s hate for me.  I feel how she cannot stand it when my father sides with me.  She wants to always make sure that I get into trouble and that my father is aware of how ‘bad’ I am.  She likes to make a scene and make sure I get punished.

So she continues to rant and rave, until my father finally gets angry and yells at me.  He yells his usual things about what a naughty brat I am.

Linda and I both apologize then go back downstairs.  We only meant to have fun and make jokes but what we did was make my mother upset.  Nothing we did turned out to be fun.  It was upsetting for all of us.

When I look back at this scene, I can remember the excitement I felt wanting to create some innocent fun for my parents and me.  I was trying to reach out and touch them in a ‘fun’ way.  It made me excited to hear that my friend’s parents responded to her jokes in a positive manner.  It gave me hope that my parents might respond in the same way.  I hoped that my parents would laugh and say what a funny idea.  Then we could all have a good laugh together and feel close to one another, but as usual with my parents, nothing seemed to get the reaction that I was looking for.

As an adult, I can understand that it must have been frustrating for my mother to endure muddy, salty coffee.  I am sorry that I upset her and that she did not appreciate my April Fool’s joke, but looking back, I still think it was funny.

My awareness is that my mother and father never do appreciate my sense of humor.  It is like we are on a different wave link.  Most of the time when I am teasing or trying to be funny, they take it as though I am being serious then I get into trouble.

I do not show my sense of humor to them anymore. I am tired of being criticized for my humor and my light heartedness.  I show my humor and fun side to people who will enjoy and appreciate it for what it is. The sad thing to me is that I feel like I cannot be myself when I am with my parents.  I feel like I have to watch everything I say to them for fear of being criticized.

My awareness is that I can always be true to who I am but can show different sides of myself to different people as is appropriate to do so.

All of us have different ideas of what we think is humorous.

Some people do not seem to have any sense of humor. Then I’ve met others who thought they were funny and I did not get their humor at all.

Every one is an individual and what is funny to one may make the other one cry.  The awareness is to see humor from both sides.  The perspective a person is coming from decides whether they will think something is funny or not. We all have varying degrees of sensitivity. Humor is based on an individual’s perspective.

“Men are disturbed not by things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen.” Epictetus

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10 thoughts on “Sugar is Salt! Excerpt from DADDY THROWS ME IN THE AIR…”

  1. Great story! A viable childhood lesson. Ayn, your insight is wonderful the way that you show it through your writing and lessons from childhood. I love your book. I will pass it along to my children. You have created a work of importance.

  2. Ayn, you write very well and have great insights. I am getting your book. I read the reviews on it. Looks like it’s a must read.

  3. Hi Ayn – Truly a wonderful read as your book makes an individual complete a full self-reflection and your book helps bring about true insight and awareness through the imprinted memories we all have to address the various areas of an individuals life that might need a positive change through the realization of their own upbringing and life experiences that brought each of us to where we are today.” I hope your doing well and I really did enjoy your book !! 😊🤗🌷 Michael

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