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Son triggers dad's garden gnome 'phobia' with prank, mother calls him 'vicious.'

Son triggers dad's garden gnome 'phobia' with prank, mother calls him 'vicious.'


When this son is conflicted about his father, he asks Reddit:

'AITA for using my father's phobia against him for my Christmas prank?'

Since I was very young,(16m) my dad has always made a point of having what he calls 'gnome-phobia.' Basically he says that he had a traumatic childhood experience and can't stand the sight of garden gnomes?

As my siblings and I got older, we figured out this was probably just an elaborate lie to keep our mom from buying the more 'cutesy' garden decorations that my dad has always hated in other people's lawns.

So, cut to this Christmas. My dad has this weird nativity set that he puts up every Christmas—it's a set of plastic figurines that comes up to your hip, and it takes up at least a third of the living room, and everyone has always hated it.

When I saw someone on Facebook marketplace selling a set of large-sized garden gnomes I decided it would be a funny Christmas prank.

I bought the gnomes and hid them in the trunk of my car. Christmas eve, when my parents were asleep, I enlisted the help of my brother to replace all the nativity figures with the garden gnomes. I bought a regular, small gnome for baby Jesus.

I thought it would be funny to come downstairs Christmas morning and see all the gnomes, but my dad freaked out at me and started demanding where I'd put his nativity set (in the trunk of my car).

I think everyone was a little caught off guard at how big his reaction was, so I returned the nativity set after apologizing. He stormed upstairs after I returned his stupid nativity set and my mom told me later that he almost cried.

My dad told me he forgave me, and we opened presents after he came back downstairs, but he's been avoiding me in the house ever since.

Yesterday my mom told me it was immature and vicious of me to use my dad's phobia of gnomes against him like that, and she wants me to apologize again.

I'm so confused, and feel bad for upsetting my dad, but... they're gnomes, so I don't know if he really has a phobia of them. He's a grown man. AITA?

Let's find out.

mariamus writes:

YTA. Gee, it's almost like he told you about his trauma-induced phobia, who could have predicted he'd have a severe reaction to the very thing he has a phobia to?

Youryogurt writes:

YTA. there's the story of baby charlie. a real life experiment where scientists placed a white teddy bear in front of a child. whenever the child reached for it, they would clang a loud noise, startling the baby.

after doing this a few times, the baby starting fearing the teddy bear and anything closely related to it like the color white, a fur coat, etc.

fear has no rational explanation. you dont know why your dad fear the gnomes. it could be something as simple as being scared of Chucky, or something as brutal like finding a rotting animal corpse inside a gnome.

(and yes, that happened to me) what you did was just plain mean and unfunny, but you acting like his fear is nbd is worse.

Well, looks like OP is TA. The real question is, what happened to his dad years ago? Will we ever GNOME?

Sources: Reddit
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