I normally don't like practical jokes. In part this because I am susceptible to them - for a professional cynic, I am a surprisingly trusting guy. And also I seem to have an extra empathy gene - even when the joke is not on me, I simply cannot stand to see other people embarrassed. I begin to squirm at the mere idea that someone is embarrassed. This is why I have a hard time watching prank shows or game shows that involve public humiliation. I feel their distress just as keenly as if it were happening to me.
Except that I really must admit that this is the best prank of all time and I laughed until it hurt. To quote from The Smoking Gun:
A telephone prankster posing as a sprinkler company employee caused havoc Saturday morning at an Arkansas Holiday Inn when he convinced an employee to set off the hotel's fire alarm, smash windows, shut down electricity, and break a sprinkler head that flooded the building lobby. The bizarre incident is detailed in a report prepared by the Conway Police Department, which, as seen below, photographed the aftermath of the June 6 incident. According to police, Holiday Inn employee Christina Bergmann was at the front desk early Saturday when a male caller "identified himself as an employee of Grennel Fire Sprinkler service." The man told Bergmann that there was a problem with the hotel's fire sprinklers and that she "needed to pull the fire alarm to reset them," cops reported. "Bergmann proceeded to pull the fire alarm at this point, causing the audible alarm." Bergmann, aided by a hotel guest, would subsequently follow a series of directions from the caller that would result in about $50,000 in damages to the hotel's windows, carpets and electrical system.
That is what humor is all about. Inspired.