In wacky sitcoms and movies, an elaborate practical joke results in nothing but brief consternation from authority figures and laughter from the audience. It doesn't matter if the hero's shenanigans shut down the whole school -- it will all be forgotten and forgiven by the next scene.
In real life, well, that shit is taken a bit more seriously ...
5French Tourists Get Drunk, Cause a Terrorism Scare
Image Source/Stockbyte/Getty ImagesJust Having Some Fun ...
Back in 2011, five Frenchmen were touring the United States and ended up in Texas. For reasons that were never made explicit but almost certainly boil down to "ask the alcohol," the tourists decided it would be great fun to don sombreros, break into a San Antonio courthouse in the middle of the night, steal a judge's gavel, and swing it around like the Mightily Plastered Thor. Sounds like good, clean, innocent debauchery to us!
"I sentence you to six-to-eight beers and hard liquor."
San Antonio police, on the other hand, interpreted it as terrorism and acted very accordingly.
The drunks triggered a silent alarm during their boozecapades -- once the authorities showed up, three of them were already gone, but they had left behind their sombreros (after all, God forbid you look stupid while drunkenly stumbling the streets at 2 a.m.). Somehow, the cops took these sombreros as the calling card of a highly-organized terror cell, and immediately went into high alert. They shut down and conducted a massive sweep of the entire surrounding area. They soon located and arrested the remaining perpetrators, who were snoozing in their RV and totally unaware that they had joined Al-Qaeda.
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"I swear, I thought 'Jihad bomb' was a beer cocktail."
The news media played their role well, meaning they exaggerated everything, wove tales from whole cloth (and possibly the anchor's favorite Clancy novel), and acted like 9/11 Part Deux was nigh. No damage was reported, yet they called it an "attack". They reported that two of the men were on an FBI watchlist, which is two more than actually were. They falsely claimed a search of the RV turned up photos of the courthouse and the city's water system. Also, the men were suddenly Moroccan, because brown people.
They conveniently edited out the cans of beer left behind, which all but confirmed this was less a sign of World War III and more a sure sign of a good time. Ultimately, cops determined that these silly drunken Euros weren't frightening African terrormongers, and opted only to charge them with burglary.
4Guy Invites Thousands to a Stranger's Birthday Party, Destroys an Entire Village
Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty ImagesJust Having Some Fun ...
When New Zealand bro Jesse Hobson discovered the Facebook page for a random girl's sweet 16 birthday bash hadn't been made private, he decided he really wanted to go. There was only one problem: she lived in Haren, a Dutch village well over 11,000 miles away.
Hobson quickly resorted to Plan B: invite everybody else. Inspired by Project X, a 2012 film about a party that spins out of control thanks to social media, Hobson extended thousands of invites to every name he found. Dubbed "Project X-Haren" (shockingly, a guy wholesale plagiarizing a movie premise wasn't creative enough to dream up an original name), the invites quickly snowballed until over 30,000 people promised to attend.
"We may not have ordered enough pizza."
But hey, it's social media -- people get invited to shit all the time. They say they'll come, but they never do. They probably just thought it was funny to RSVP for some random teenager's birthday ...Oh, Shit!
Wrong -- over 3,000 people showed up, ready to fire it up with someone they'd never even met. Then they found out there was no party, as the girl's family had caught wind of the situation, cancelled the festivities, and immediately went into hiding. So now there were 3,000 highly pissed-off party people, many of whom had long since wandered into the wrong end of Margaritaville. Rather than disperse, they simply chose to destroy everything, laying waste to Haren like a horde of barbarians not good enough at barbarian-ing to topple actual empires.
Catrinus van der Veen/AFP/Getty Images
"Crush your beer cans. See them drunken before you. And hear the lamentation of the tequila drinkers!"
It was pure madness, with broken store windows, hurled rocks, shattered glass, looting and plundering, flaming cars, and assaults on police officers becoming the order of the night. Thirty-four arrests and 36 injuries resulted, and the village found itself a million Euros (about 1.6 million Frodobucks) poorer thanks to all the damage incurred.
Hobson, as expected, played the Innocent Kid card, claiming all he wanted was for people to have fun, and he had no idea something so bad would happen. This despite his being influenced by a movie where something exactly that bad very much happened. He apologized, and nobly declared to "probably" never invite strangers into strange worlds anymore. As for the broken bodies and millions in damages, he had nothing to do with that. After all, he wasn't even there, dude.