Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It is known today, especially in middle-school circles, as "the choking game," "the pass-out game," "the tingling game" or "the space monkey." At that age, my friends, and I experimented with a version of this we called “the hyperventilation game” (we should have called It “the stupid game”) and no choking was involved. One person simply would squat down, take 30 or so quick deep breaths stand up quickly and exhale forcefully, and another person would grab them from behind, wrap their arms around their chest, and squeeze until the hyperventilated person fell limp in their arms.

I understand now that the brain maintains no reserves of O2 and, unlike other organs, has an exceedingly low tolerance of O2 deprivation, plus the low levels of carbon monoxide in the blood causes the veins in the brain to constrict. The brain is temporarily deprived of oxygen – you pass out. THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS GAME THAT CAN (AND HAS) RESULTED IN MANY DEATHS!

Three of us played this dangerous game for a brief time when I lived in Florence, Alabama. I may have continued to play it longer had I had a better experience. The other two had good experiences and their description was much like those people who claim to have had a NDE describes theirs.

Laying there in the grass, still not fully in control of their arms and legs yet, they talked about how peaceful it was, about the white light, about the weight of the world lifting from their extremities, and about how weak they still felt.

For me, it was at first the feeling of numbness coming over me, then bright sparks of light blinking around my head and in front of my eyes, then a while light flashed and changed to red, and then a horrible face (that I perceived as the devil) appeared before me! Kids that do this often laugh at the involuntary movements of the “victims” arms and legs. My legs and arms flailed wildly as I fought what they could not see – I pushed, shoved, and punched with closed fists to their distant amusement.

When it was my turn to describe my experience it was totally different, I lay in a panic gasping for breath. The others could not understand why I did not get a kick out of it, but I knew that I did not want any more experiences like that again.

However, like all stupid kids trying to be accepted, I did try it one more time after being pressured into it. It was also very stupid that I let them talk me into trying it inside and, worst yet, in my mother’s living room.

As soon as the guy released his grip on my chest I lunged into a rage and stormed around the room screaming incoherently and punching at the face of the devil that was poking at me with his pitchfork! At least two lamps fell and broke, pictures were scraped from the walls, and chairs were turned over.

When I regained control and focus, I saw the two guys that had promised to hold me down standing huddled in a corner looking very confused and frightened. I perused the damage and knew immediately that there was not going to be any “talking to me” this time. This warranted a full-fledged butt whipping!

I never again played that stupid game and as far as I know neither did the other guys.

I submit that the “near death experience” is merely the brain's lack of oxygen and low level of carbon monoxide. If you have ever almost passed out, or stood up too fast, you too have come close to a NDE. To me it is just another reason not to fear death. Whether you see the comforting light or the face of the devil, it will not last long; there is no pain, you are receding!


Shelli said...

I, too, did this stupid thing as a young teen. I didn't have your experience and I am lucky that I didn't suffer severe consequences from the idiocy of my youth.

Ron Southern said...

Jeez, an LSD trip would've been less traumatizing, unless you became obsessed with death and the devil there, too! What kind of drunk do you make--comic, maudlin, or belligerant?

Ron Southern said...

Gee, all I had was dope. Guess there's other ways to be dopey.

Lynn said...

Thanks for coming by Mushy.

I never did this act. I knew of one person who did it as a teen. She was a little twisted, as she would do it to herself by wrapping her arms around herself hard after the hyperventalating.

I didnt do it cuz I was in a the strange reality-based teen show. "My Dad is a cop and at dinner he tells me death tales for my own good."
I saw a newspaper article about a teacher in a nearby Highschool who was found dead. Hanged on a doorknob.
I was 14.
My Dad had that case. He explained to me what events lead up to this death. He was frank and to the point about stuff he felt I needed to know to stay safe.
"No one killed this man." he said,"He died playing a sex game. Some people hang themselves while masterbating to get a heightened climax. But when one plays this game there is a risk of death if you don't have a friend around to help you if you get stuck."

I know the hypervent. game is not quite the same, but the reason it became popular with teens and tweens is because it is a weird urge release all the same.

It was easy for me to associate the two acts as being dangerous.

As an adult the whole thing came too close to home when my twenty yr old nephew died in the clutches of the doorknob hanging at a time his life was a mess and not looking positive. I dont think it was a suicide in the big frame of it. It was a seek of some sort of pleasure in a day of pain that went really wrong. Either way he was responsible for his own death.

Praise you are alive Mushy

anisah said...

this is the type of game that will make teenage girls roll their eyes, shake their heads and mutter "boys" in disgusted tones

Goddess said...

I often wonder how these dumb games even get started. This, the hanging one, stuff like huffing paint. I always think, "holy shit, how bored do you have to be to do this sort of stuff?" Over eating candy, now that's the way to go! LOL....

Alisa said...

Geeze. I am glad I kept to myself and didn't have friends urging me into these games. I think the "most crazy" my cousins and I ever got was "Light as a Feather"

Mushy said...

I'm a comic, very intertaining drunk, but of course, don't do that anymore Ron.

Yes Lynn, that's the reason INXS had to get a new lead singer, and he was married with kids.

Young boys are stupid...I'm glad I survivied!

Yes, Goddess, sweets would be much better understood than hanging on a short doornob with your, you know, in your hand.

What is "Light as a Feather?"

Fathairybastard said...

Woa, dude, that is almost the weirdest shit I ever heard. I can't remember ever hearing about anyone doing that sort of thing, until I was an adult and heard about people like the INXS dude and a few others dying while doing it. As Ron said, my peers were just into pills and weed and shit. Bezarre. Country boys. I thought you guys just got off with farm animals and shit. Jesus.

DirtCrashr said...

I've heard about it but we never played it or knew anybody who did... I think I maybe know "light as a feather" if it was some kind of lifting-up game.

phlegmfatale said...

Ah, comfortably numb I could deal with. But that is a scary game. I never knew anyone who did that, and I'm glad I never did. Eek. i kept thinking about Michael Hutchence when I read that (who I believe was an accidental death)