Sunday, June 14, 2009

Grab a fire extinguisher and give me a hand!

Punk'd. Candid Camera. Girls Behaving Badly. What do all these television shows have in common? They're all about pulling pranks on unsuspecting people. I love a good prank, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one, otherwise those shows probably wouldn't be so popular.

I remember one prank I pulled on my girlfriend in high school. She was working hard at a local pizza place and I was sitting at home waiting for her to be done working, you know what they say about idle hands. I called her up one afternoon imitating a radio celebrity who was known for calling various businesses and making the person on the other end sound like an idiot - and you wonder why we're not still together. If I remember right, I was trying to convince her that I had run over a squirrel with my car and I wanted to bring it in so she could make a "squirrel meat pizza" for me. I think she knew it was me because about two seconds after we hung up she called me asking if I had just called. To this day I've vowed that it wasn't me - I guess the secret is out.

When my friend Mark was in high school, he was the victim of a prank. What's funny is that it wasn't the school bully or one of his buddies that got him, it was his parents! After he went to bed one night (I believe it was March 31st, the eve of the greatest day to play pranks on people), his parents set all the clocks ahead an hour - including the one on his nightstand, his wristwatch, and the clock in his car. The next morning his parents were downstairs having breakfast when he woke up, stumbled downstairs, and rushed off to school. It wasn't until he arrived at school that he realized he was an hour early.

I'd never be able to pull anything off quite like that without laughing at some point and giving it away. I've always wanted to eat five or six Oreo's as I walk into my dentist office for my regular cleaning and see what they have to say about that. I'm assuming they'd say with a serious face, "Paul, why don't you go brush your teeth real quick before we get started." Then I'd be "that guy" who showed up with Oreo teeth.

A few days ago there was a prank pulled on a Holiday Inn Express in Conway, Arkansas. Someone called the hotel around 6:00 AM and told the girl at the front desk that he was calling from the sprinkler service company. He explained to the hotel employee that there was a problem with the hotel's fire sprinklers and that she would need to pull the fire alarm in order to reset them. The hotel employee (who had probably been working all night long) decided that this sounded reasonable so she pulled the fire handle, causing the audible fire alarm to go off.

Then the prankster told her that in order to prevent the sprinklers from coming on, she would need to break all the windows in the hotel lobby. Not only did the hotel employee start to do this, but she was aided by a hotel guest armed with a fire extinguisher - which, when not being used to extinguish fires, is great for breaking windows.

The caller then advised her that she would need to break a sprinkler head in order to keep the sprinklers from activating. As I learned from an incident in my college days, that only leads to a very wet building and a lot of upset people. I guess with the hotel fire alarm going off and broken glass all over the lobby, I can see how you might think that breaking a sprinkler head would help get things back in order. Within a few minutes she had one of the sprinkler heads broken off, and thousands of gallons of water flooding the hotel.

To add insult to injury, the caller then instructed the hotel employee that she would need to reset the control panel and in order to do that she would have to shut down power to the entire hotel! Not wanting things to get worse, she found the electrical room and shut down power to the hotel.

So, within a few minutes of someone calling her hotel, the dedicated hotel employee had (1) set off the fire alarm, (2) broken all the windows in the hotel lobby, (3) set off the sprinkler system, and (4) shut down power to the hotel. By now the police and fire department were on the way. I'm sure they've seen a lot of funny things but I can't imagine they've ever seen someone cause so much damage to a hotel in so little time. The total cost of this prank - approximately $50,000!

In this economy, times are tough and jobs are hard to come by. But if you're interested in working the overnight shift at a hotel, I think I know of a place that might be hiring.

No comments: