Trapped in a box for 29 hours...

Sometimes I wonder how people got through the work day before the dawn of gchat and email. Honestly, what is there to do for eight hours a day, stuck in a cubicle? The obvious answer is "work," but when you’re within a few years of graduating college, your superiors barely trust you to use scissors without a safety guard, nevertheless do any meaningful and time-consuming work.

Honestly, I should update my resume and say that I have advanced software skills in playing the following games via gchat or gmail: Hangman; Tic-Tac-Toe; Rock/Paper/Scissor (it’s possible, although both parties must abide by a serious honor system); Free Word Association; What Would you Rather be Doing Right Now?; Finish my Sentence; MASH; Two Truths and a Lie; and (creating and answering) Surveys.

Today I’m going to share with you my favorite game and what might be the most potent weapon against office boredom. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you—Trapped in a Box for 29 Hours.

Trapped in a Box for 29 Hours is a game that my dad and I created (and Helena helped refine) over the Summer of 2004, in preparation for my road trip with Helena from DC to Canada. Over the years the rules have been further refined, and although initially used to combat road trip boredom, I’ve found it useful (if not vital) in the war on office boredom.

The rules are quite simple: email/gchat/text message a friend and propose to them a question—would you rather be trapped in a box for 29 hours with ______ or ______? Your juxtaposition must be well thought out and the options must somehow relate. In my experience, I have also found that the more abstract your juxtaposition, the better. Use your imagination, what else are you going to do?

In addition, you must abide by the following rules:
1.) As stated in the title, you are trapped in the box for 29 hours. You may not leave under any circumstances. I cannot stress this enough. I hate playing this with people who think the objective of the game is to be a smart-ass and find a way out of the box or a way to make their box-mate leave. You are trapped in the box with one of two people; just choose which one you would prefer. Don’t disrespect the game by trying to outsmart it.
2.) Whomever you decide to be trapped in the box with cannot touch you (whether it is to cause harm or pleasure) and likewise, you cannot touch them. You also cannot have any sexual contact with your box-mate after you are trapped in the box as well. When the 29 hours are up, you are both released, never to see or hear from each other again.
3.) The box dimensions are as follows: you can sit comfortably in your chair and stand with your head just barely reaching the ceiling. You are separated from your box-mate by four feet. You are sitting on reasonably comfortable chairs, facing one another.
4.) You cannot die in the box. I don’t care how claustrophobic you are or how many weapons your box-mate has, death shouldn't factor into your decision. Your box-mate may verbally or mentally abuse you as much as they wish, but physical harm is never possible.
5.) Food, sleep, defecating, work etc. are non-issues.
6.) You may include dead people in your juxtapositions. However, once they are released from the box, they’re dead again.

You might be thinking this sounds totally lame, but I really recommend you give it a try. Half of the fun is thinking of a really good juxtaposition. This game started as a random thought on the way to Outback Steakhouse four years ago, and I still play it regularly with Helena and my dad.

I went through my email with my dad and picked out some of our more quality games of Trapped in a Box to illustrate the beauty of the game:

Dad: Trapped in a box for 29 hours with a theater geek or a computer nerd (dungeons and dragons)?
Me: I choose the computer nerd. Theater geeks are truly awful people. They genuinely think they're better than you when in fact they're lame and outgoing in a completely annoying and needy way. The computer nerd and I could play a vicious game of some weird medieval fantasy game and talk with ye olde accents! Not bad, sayseth I!
Dad: I agree. The computer nerd wins. I couldn't stand hearing someone humming the Rogers and Hammerstein songbook for 24 hours, let alone the jazz hands invading my personal space.

Dad: Trapped in a box for 29 hours with a crazy homeless person vs. Jehovah’s Witness?
Me: I vote Jehovah’s Witness. In both cases you're going to be trapped with someone spouting off crazy stuff to you, but in the Jehovah’s Witness' case he won't smell foul or give you a few diseases (well...depending on the Jehovah’s Witness.)

Me: Trapped in a box for 29 hours with a Hasidic Jew or a Catholic Priest?
Dad: Again, I think there may be some wild hand and arm movements with the Hasidic Jew. You know how those Eastern Europeans are. They're all out there smelling of their exotic eastern foods and crazy talk and socialist ideas [editor’s note: this is just our family's brand of sarcasm talking, not racism. My mom is an Eastern European Jew. Please don’t sue me]. The Catholic Priest will be all quiet and shy and unlikely to impose himself, withall the unfortunate business of, well, you know what. So I'm down with the quiet criminal organization. So let's talk about Jesus -- except there will be no talking in this box! Really.

Dad: Trapped in a box for 29 hours with Al Sharpton or Chelsea Clinton?
Me: Oh God... I guess Al Sharpton based on charisma alone. I wish it were Jesse Jackson though.

Dad: Trapped in a box for 29 hours with either Bob Marley or Bob Dylan?
Me: I guess Bob Dylan just for hygiene’s sake. And my love of acoustic guitar. The only argument for Bob Marley would be his probable amount of pot, but odds are Dylan’s holding too.

Me: Trapped in a box for 29 hours with Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck?
Dad: Donald Duck. Mickey is a sanctimonious mouse bast**d. He's oh so smug about having his own club, and amusement park, and stupid dog thats named after an ex-planet. Now Donald, there's a real duck. He can even swim. That mouse would float face down like a tu*d in a bowl. I didn't know I felt so passionate about this.

Me: Trapped in a box for 29 hours with Judy Garland or Lisa Minelli?
Dad: To be trapped in a box with either you would probably be gay, but all that aside, I'd go with Judy. She would have the best pills and booze (yes, it was booze back then). I think she would also have the better stories. Although, on the other hand, she would likely cry a lot. Bummer. Liza (with a z) seems like a manic whiner. I'd have to put up with a lot about her ex husband and what's his name, and a lot of repressed bitterness about nobody liking her as much as mom. And I think she wouldn't have as good a selection of drugs, mostly downers.

Now I’ll get you the reader started: Would you rather be trapped in a box for 29 hours with an authentic 1940’s German Nazi, or a modern day Afghani terrorist? Go!


Andrew said...

Best. Game. Ever.

While the Nazi would, indeed, help me brush up on my German, I choose the Afghan terrorist (assuming that the language barrier isn't an issue) because of the amazing interviewing opportunity it'd be (no fear of him killing me).

Tim said...

German Nazi. I just got done watching Band of Brothers and I could talk to him about what it was like.
I would prefer it to be an officer so I could try out his luger.

Unknown said...

I'm also gonna have to go with German Nazi. I TOTALLY think I could win him over. At first he would be a total douche, like a modern day Duke lacrosse player. But then I would wear him down with my charm. Those fuckers are easily manipulated, hence, why they are nazis. The Afghan on the other hand, I do not see him budging no matter HOW charming I might be in the box. That would be a long 29 hours.

2b1b: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

So far nice answers all around. I chose the German Nazi. The terrorist would be screaming at me and would generally be all over the place. Nazis are jerks, but let's hand it to them, they were well put together people. Very composed. Nice uniform. Well groomed.

too bad about the whole insane genocide thing.

Helenasjohnson@gmail.com said...

Nazi, hands down. I'm not going to elaborate because I get in trouble whenever the subject of Nazis comes up.

P.S. Andrew, that's the nerdiest answer I've ever heard.

Ashley said...

I'd go with the Nazi. Talk about a real life history lesson. Plus I'm blond and blue-eyed, so he'd probably fawn all over me.

Random thought...with modern-day hair dye, do you think people could have escaped persecution!? I'm just saying.

Cat said...


There's a master's thesis in that question for some intrepid psych or anthro student.

Cat said...

LOL @Helena- I also get in trouble whenever Nazis come up.

ciitnoida said...

Best. Game. Ever.

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