The Deflate Escape

In my book, I mention playing a made up game called Deflate Escape. I thought I'd share a little more about the background of that game here.

I met my friend Ryan years ago and we immediately hit it off sense of humor-wise, especially when Ryan started emailing me on a federal account, using my official badge photo in the email to make it look like I was saying whatever stupid thing he typed next to it. He used his photo too. Now that I think about it, it might've been the first Facebook Wall pre-Facebook.

From: Ryan

To: Dana

Subject: How non-awesome everyone else is

(that is not actually Ryan, that is some random dude I found online to protect Ryan's innocence, but you get the gist.)

We've stayed friends through the years - through ski trips, government softball teams, and multiple parties with his former roommates and his awesome wife.  

I feel like I've never hung out with this group without seeing something completely silly. Fire extinguishers sprayed into hot tubs, holes put into walls from boys fighting while wearing hockey gear. One time, they created a new game where they rode skateboards in the basement while simultaneously jousting each other with swimming pool Fun Noodles.

Wouldn't you stay friends with these people forever, too?

The last party I attended was shortly before a potentially risky trip overseas. It was Ryan's annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party , and to add to the ridiculousness of everyone wearing crazy tacky clothing, there was also: A Bounce House.

Yes. Like the ones made for children. Not grown adults working in professional jobs in the United States' capital.

And since this is the same group of people who like to create their own fun with everything, it wasn't enough to just bounce inside of this thing. No -- they had to see if they could break it.

And thus Deflate Escape was born. As the name implies, the "game" was to throw people into the house then have someone on the outside deflate it, and see how fast all of the people trapped inside could extricate themselves.

Here's where I feel the need to point out once again that many of these people work, by day, in jobs that support our nation's security. Makes you sleep well at night, doesn't it?

Since I was about to go to a war-torn country, Ryan insisted I needed to participate in Deflate Escape as training. You know, in case I got in some type of situation overseas where I'd need to free myself from a rapidly collapsing inflatable building. Seemed legitimate.

What ensued over the next few hours was nothing short of astounding levels of immature mayhem. As soon as the release valve was pulled, people started bouncing off each other, fighting to get to the escape hatch in the ceiling or trying to squish themselves out the front door. From the inside, I just remember giggling a lot and seeing the bottom  half of those who successfully reached the hatch before me:

From the outside, I watched people triumphantly emerge however they could:

It looked like a big colorful pillow case with giant hamsters fighting inside. I watched one escape episode where the house was still fairly stable and the boys inside shoved someone so hard he flew into the side, which caused the entire thing to immediately break down all lop-sided. 

And keep in mind, everyone is still dressed in Tacky Christmas Sweaters:

During the last escape, I'm standing with Ryan's wife on the outside while we hear him inside, yelling something about potentially breaking his back. He starts to attempt an escape out the front door, all while everyone is still jumping inside, which creates the scene where we see Ryan, head first, jostling violently out the front hatch, like some tumultuous birthing process. He's half moaning "I think I'm breaking my neck!" and his wife stands there watching him, shaking her head, and she dead-pans to me:

"This is a new low for us."

I love them.

One day, when we've all fully settled down and spend our days going to PTA meetings, hopefully we'll share these times with our kids to make sure they knew we were awesome.

...Then we'll rent bounce houses for the kids and play in them ourselves the rest of the night.