I don’t get into April Fools’ Day. I don’t get a lot of kicks from lying to people, and in my professional context it would simply be cruel (*beep* “Hey, it’s DrPal, just letting you know you have toe cancer! I’m going on vacation, so give me a call next week.”). I don’t like the idea of lying to my wife, so that’s out. And in my writing, I try to be factual as much as is possible, and wouldn’t want someone to think it’s true that chewing gum causes toe cancer or some such thing.
I mention toe cancer because cancer played a trick on me. When cancer tricks around, it’s usually not a good thing, but in this case… .
A bunch of years ago, I was lying in bed and my wife showed me a lump on her toe.
“What do think it could be?” she asked, somewhat overly-concerned I thought.
“Probably just an everyday bump of some sort.”
“What do you mean? Like a corn or a wart?”
“Well, I doesn’t look like any of those. I would just call it a bump.”
“Well, what could it be?!?”
“I dunno, toe cancer?”
Her jaw dropped. “Really?”
I answered tiredly, “There’s no such thing as toe cancer. Don’t worry about it.”
You know where this is going.
One day we get a phone call from MrsPal’s dear friend. She went to the podiatrist for a corn or something, and he thought it looked funny, so he sent it to pathology. It was a sarcoma, an unusual form of cancer.
I referred her to a surgeon who specializes in such things, and now she’s a healthy, nine-toed woman (and yes, everyone has made the joke about discount pedicures).
So one night, lying in bed, waiting for the latest scan to come back on her friend I turn to her and say, “Um, sorry about the ‘toe cancer’ crack.”
“Yeah, you should be.”
The Greeks knew it long before I did: hubris isn’t usually funny.