This morning I tricked my wife.
Her car has been away for a repair and is due back this evening. At 7:15 this morning I woke her to tell her the car had just pulled up outside. She cursed and hauled herself to the window to peep out. She scanned left and right. No car. The smiling husband proclaims, “April Fool!”
It felt oddly satisfying to have duped her. I was pleased with myself. I remember saying to myself, be alert, don’t get caught out, you’ve won.
Only an hour later, my wife tapped on the bathroom door. I opened it, half dried from my shower. She was holding the phone. “It’s your Dad,” she said. “He wants to know where you put the spare kettle.” (Two weeks ago we thought his kettle had broken and bought a replacement, only to discover it was still working). I grabbed the phone. “Hi,” I said, “Dad? Dad?”
Suddenly it dawned. I too had been had. April Fool.
The feelings we experience when we have been clever, or won, or outsmarted someone, are quite different to those we feel when we are caught out, tricked, beaten or made to feel small.
We would do well to recall how the other person might feel in all our interactions with each other. Not just the fun ones on April 1st.