Delivering chaos in a van
When it comes to gambling with playing cards, or making big real estate deals, they always say that if you can't spot the sucker in the room, then you must be the sucker. I guess that's good advice, but it might also be true that you're in a room without any suckers, and everyone in there is like an elite negotiator and things are going to be politely and respectfully handled amongst a group of professionals looking to put together the fairest deal they can come up with for themselves and their constituents.
It would be hard to tell apart a case where that was literally true, and a case where you were being led to believe that was true by the others in the group, but you were technically still the sucker. The mind reels thinking about the endless circles and spirals and Venn diagrams one could draw around this conspiracy.
Alternately, what if there's a cat in the room? Can the cat be the sucker? I guess if the claim is just that there is a sucker somewhere in the room and we're not too concerned with the participation of the sucked in the goings-on of the deal-making, then the cat is probably eligible. If the claim is that there's a sucker who is in the room but is also involved in making the deal in an official capacity, then the cat is probably out of the running.
I guess there must be some deals somewhere that involve a cat though, right? Like, say you're a major supplier of ground up Salmon-meal products, and you're at the negotiating table with one of your biggest clients, who are a large conglomerate with a cat food division. At some point in what has probably been decades of negotiations between these parties, it seems almost certain that one of them brought a cat to the big annual pricing summit.
Don't look now but there's a stranger in your house
Before the internet existed and people had to actually leave their house to buy stuff, it was a lot of easier to apply shame towards people making purchases.
For example, let's say you wanted to appropriate someone's culture by buying their music in your local record shoppe -- you might go in and try to purchase the music, only to field some really funny looks from people, and eventually you'd sort of get it, you'd feel shame, and you'd leave the store. Same deal with trying to buy adult magazines - you'd have to walk into a store as a 13 year old and hand the counter person actual dollars in exchange for naked lady pictures (or try to convince an older person to do this on your behalf).
The internet adds anonymity and thus removes that shame, and that's probably both a really huge a problem and a really huge blessing at the same time.
It's a huge problem because there is some probably-useful norm enforcement going on with the application of that shame. It is sometimes the case that the person doing the shaming is in some part looking out for your best interests by appealing to your sense of self-doubt and caution, and that they were doing you a favor by embarrassing you out of whatever you were about to do. It's a huge blessing, because some interests are best explored in private, and the generations-long cycle of people repressing the stuff they are really into out of a sense of shame and fear is being curbed.
Could god make a boat so large that even he couldn't build a canal wide enough to convey it?
I'm a little skeptical of claims about something being the "most precious" thing we have. For example, a celebrity actress in an awards acceptance speech might claim that our children are our most precious thing, and that we must support whatever thing she wants us to support so that they can fulfill their potential. Later in the same awards ceremony an actor might claim that our national parks are our most precious resource and we have to defend them and keep them pristine.
So first off, just in the span of one awards show we've already got two people making competing claims, and at least one and possibly both of them are wrong or are lying. But more importantly, when you're talking about things being precious you need to also define for whom they are precious and what purpose their preciousness is serving.
Let's say a hypothetical actress named Marlette Marlenssonnville was accepting an award and instead of saying that our children were the most precious, she instead said "My children are the most precious thing to me", that's a lot better. We can go ahead and make a list of Marlette's precious things, and we can go ahead and slot in her children on the top of that list. Then we can watch out for her future behavior to make sure she is acting in a way consistent with honoring her most precious children, and we can also watch out for any future claims she makes about precious things, to see if they retain this title or eventually get replaced by something else.
The web of trust is made of dust
Generally speaking, when someone has a baby via normal human genetic reproduction, that baby is going to look sort of like them and their biological baby partner. On the other hand, if you adopt a baby and that baby is further away from you genetically, that baby is going to look less like you than biological baby would have. This is how genetics work and it's a pretty useful way to convince people that a certain baby is theirs, because even without modern genetics you can look the baby hard in the face and think "hmmm, yes, ok, hmmm, I see, yes, hmmm ... my baby!" That's pretty good for the baby, in terms of keeping it's parents around.
Anyway, in a more modern context, I think a pretty funny but sort of elaborate prank to play on someone would be to wait until you have a lady friend who you don't talk to that often but who you know has been trouble conceiving a traditional bio-baby and is going to be adopting or otherwise acquiring a non-biological baby of their own. If you know this far enough in advance (like 6-7 months or more) you should avoid seeing them for the entire time of when their visible pregnancy would have been if they were actually carrying a baby. Maybe you can monitor them on social media without their knowledge or something. Use your own techniques here, you don't need my guidance.
Once you're sure they have the new baby, wait another few months, and then find a way to bump into them on the street when they are out and about with their new bundle of joy. You need to appear like you are in a big rush and don't have that much time to talk. Maybe wear a suit and carry a briefcase and put in some bluetooth headphones and keep staring at your watch.
After exchanging hurried pleasantries, you tell them how much of a cutie their little one is, and you say something like "wow, she looks just like you!"
This is the moment of truth and the big payoff. Your friend has now been given the insight that you don't know they've adopted a baby and they're probably inclined to tell you their whole frigging not getting pregnant and ultimately adopting a baby story ... but they're also sensitive to not having seen you in almost a whole year, and that you have this hurried sense about you. They might decide to launch into the story, or they might choose to just let it ride and let you think they have a bio-baby who looks like them, because maybe they won't see you again for like a whole year or more, and it's sort of victimless crime if they leave you with this wrong information.
Delivering chaos in a van