True story: This one time? I totally got fired on April Fool’s Day. Hilarity ensued.

My first job was an incredible experience from beginning to middle. I started life as a professional designer at a small boutique shop in mid-town Omaha that was dominated by women (I was, and remain to this day, the second-ever man employed there), which informed much of my burgeoning design style. It was fabulous from top to bottom. Days were spent with catty gossip, making things look beautiful, and almost certainly inappropriate jokes about the bombshell designer’s plush beaver toy that sat on her desk.

From middle to end it was a slow decent into madness. After my first year on the job I had decided I had learned everything there ever was to know about design (that’s right: suck it, Milton). This remains true to this day — I suppose everything else I’ve learned on top of what I knew then is probably just filler. My senior colleagues, some with ten to 15 years of experience, begged to differ. And sometimes shouted to differ. Confident that I was God’s gift to the masses, I strode on unabated to my undoing.

I can’t remember precisely what it was that set events into motion, such is often the case with back-breaking pieces of straw, but eventually during a heated conversation with my employer, (an at-her-heart kind and wonderful woman who I worshipped and who never once made an alteration that didn’t result in something looking better) she took a deep breath and drew back the hammer. The Hammer of I’ve Got To Fire Your Ass.

This is where it gets funny.

It was April first. April Fool’s Day, 2004. Earlier that morning — I shit you not — I made a joke over e-mail to a Pre-Superstar Designer® Drew Davies that I should prank being fired. And after the complete mess of the termination, the crushing blow of knowing I had let down a woman I so highly admired, and the humiliating walk out the back door with my tail between my legs, the e-mails started pouring in. And bouncing back.

And for a few hours, that fateful day, while I was wallowing in my misery, my friends thought I was the funniest bastard on the whole planet. “OMG! Nate is bouncing back e-mails like he’s ‘no-longer with the company!’ Hilarious!”

Eventually, the next day, after I had made enough phone calls to snuff out the rumor, these e-mails were politely forwarded to me by my now former employer. At that point, it gave me the first dose of humor I’d had in the preceding 24 hours. There was a string of e-mails, some with multiple recipients, trying to figure out if my prank was so awesome or a horrible coincidence. I’ve always found irony to be the best form of humor, and this was the best ever.

Young brash designer makes a joke about getting fired on April Fool’s Day only to be fired on April Fool’s Day and have no-one believe him. What a gem of a story that will make in exactly 4 years.

Happy anniversary!