Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Interoffice Games

I did not invent this myself-- I received it in an email from my mother-in-law today. She and her colleagues at a wonderful Bay Area design firm are actually doing this. All I can say is... in accordance with the prophecy!*

*see 10-point dare #6

How many points can you rack up in a day? A week?

1) Run one lap around the office at top speed.2) Ignore the first five people who say 'good morning' to you.3) Phone someone in the office you barely know, leave your name and say,"Just called to say I can't talk right now. Bye."4) To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears andgrimace.5) Leave your zipper open for one hour. If anyone points it out, say,"Sorry, I really prefer it this way."6) Walk sideways to the photocopier.7) While riding in an elevator, gasp dramatically every time the doors open.

1) Say to your boss, "I like your style" and shoot him with double-barreledfingers.2) Babble incoherently at a fellow employee then ask, "Did you get all that,I don't want to have to repeat it."3) Page yourself over the intercom (do not disguise your voice).4) Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle(there must be a 'non-player' within sight).5) Shout random numbers while someone is counting.

1) At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice toconclude with the singing of the national anthem (5 extra points if youactually launch into it yourself).2) Walk into a very busy person's office and while they watch you withgrowing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times.3) For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as "Bob."4) Announce to everyone in a meeting that you "really have to go do a numbertwo."5) After every sentence, say 'Mon' in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in"The report's on your desk, Mon." Keep this up for 1 hour.6) While an office mate is out, move their chair into the elevator.7) In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly andmutter, "Shut up, all of you just shut up!"8) At lunchtime, get down on your knees and announce, "As God as my witness,I'll never go hungry again."9) In a colleague's DAY PLANNER, write in the 10am slot: "See how I look in tights."(5 Extra points if it is a male, 5 more if he is your boss)10) Carry your keyboard over to your colleague and ask, "You wanna trade?" 11) Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."12) Come to work in army fatigues and when asked why, say, "I can't talk about it." 13) Posing as a maitre d', call a colleague and tell him he's won a lunch for four at a local restaurant. Let him go.14) Speak with an accent (French, German, Porky Pig, etc) during a very important conference call. 15) Find the vacuum and start vacuuming around your desk.16) Hang a 2' long piece of toilet roll from the back of your pants and act genuinely surprised when someone points it out.17) Present meeting attendees with a cup of coffee and biscuits, smashing each biscuit with your fist. 18) During the course of a meeting, slowly edge your chair towards the door.19) Arrange toy figures on the table to represent each meeting attendee, move them according to the movements of their real-life counterparts.

And if that wasn't enough for you... How to keep a healthy level of insanity:1) At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down. 2) Tell your children over dinner. "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."3) Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.4) Put your waste basket on your desk and label it "IN". 5) Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over his or her caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.6) Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy."

I'm very interested in some of the dares' references to players versus non-players. Clearly this game is meant to be played among a particular group of co-workers co-conspiring in a larger office environment full of other colleagues who are not in the know, or "in the dark" about the game.

I love the humor of the dares, but as I've said before, "dark play" is not really my favorite kind of play. Dark play, a term I borrow from performance studies co-founder Richard Schechner, is play in which there is no clear frame separating the game and reality. Some players know they’re playing, other players might not, and people looking on might mistake the gameplay for reality.

I prefer “transparent play,” which allows onlookers to intuit that others are playing, grok the rule set quickly and join in the gameplay if they wish. So I would love to see a fully transparent version of this game.

One simple design tweak would be to post the list of dares somewhere public in the office, like on the refrigerator, or in mailboxes. Keep some of it a secret--is this for real? am I supposed to do this? is this authorized?--to keep the thrill of the dare, but at least make it clear what all the orchestrated chaos is about!


The Dancing Kids said...

I am laughing really hard right now.

Anonymous said...

This is just too too funny. I had a day full of meetings that depressed the hell out of me . . . I'm now laughing so hard that it makes all that depression go away. Thanks!

Julep said...

These are great! There is one I simply love to do. In a pointless conversation, a boring meeting, or any other situation in which you are not exactly an enthusiastic participant, try to use one random word as many times in as many bizarre ways as possible. To start, try the word “salamander” or maybe “celadon.” For instance, when sitting in a meeting, start out by saying, “Well, that’s not a bad idea at all, but another good idea is to try the salamander technique.” Or “That is interesting, George, (oh salamander!) but did you consider…?” You and a friend can even compete for the greatest number of mentions without being caught!

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