A Bag of Laughs

Originally posted at One Second.

Well, the latest One Second installation happened last night, and I must say it went absolutely nothing like I had imagined!

The aim of the installation - like always - was to provoke One Second of new thought in people that will spring to the front of their minds when it comes time for them to make their One Second count. The method this time involved a steel hospital table and a body bag, and asking people whether they trusted their friends enough to let them zip them up in the body bag - for just One Second.

We arrived at a popular Surf Club shortly after 6pm and decided to bring the table through the back entrance so as not to scare children out with their families. People looked on with interest as we set up the table and the body bag in the bar area.
By 7pm the club slowly started to fill with people, and an invisible barrier began to form around the table. People were hesitant to go near the body bag. Most were intrigued, but kept their interest for quick glances from a safe distance away.

As 8pm came around - with a few drinks under their belts - people started coming forward and allowing their friends to zip them up in a body bag. There was a lot of nervous laughter and most people made their friends promise, over and over again, that they would unzip them. People were nervous and many spent more than just One Second deciding whether or not they would get in the bag.

By 9pm, an abundance of liquid courage saw a constant stream of people being zipped and unzipped in the body bag. There was much laughing and joking and many profanities were exclaimed as people experienced laying on a hard steel table and having a body bag zipped closed around them.
As the evening progressed, the experience appeared to become more novel than thought provoking. People started requesting to be zipped up together, some pretended to fall asleep inside the bag, others wanted to know if they could borrow it to play a prank on someone, and I started to doubt the effectiveness of the installation.

Then a little before 10pm, someone went too far - They zipped up their friend and would not let them out.
At first, the persons muffled protests and awkward movements from inside the bag made people laugh. This laughter, mixed with a large amount of alcohol, spurred on the person responsible for keeping his friend in the body bag, and he continued to hold the zip closed.

Then his friend started to panic.

People stopped laughing and began telling the man to let his friend out, but the man seemed oblivious to the turn his prank was taking.

With all eyes on the body bag, the man finally released his friend, who emerged pale and shaky.
Breathing heavily, the friend's terror was replaced by rage and he unleashed a scathing attack on his 'friend', which ended with, "You can't screw with people's lives like that - It's not f***ing funny!"

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Nobody wanted to get in the body bag after that. Suddenly, putting themselves in the hands of their friends - after their friends had had more than a few drinks - didn't seem so funny.

They didn't trust their friends with something as simple as unzipping a bag, and I can only hope they valued their lives as much when it came time to getting home.

5 comments:

Mistress B said...

wow.

That sounds like it was a huge night.

I truly hope that the experience did make people think twice about how they were getting home - both that night and on future nights.

Melody said...

Wow. Amazing what a bit of dutch courage can make us do. But what an absolute idiot not letting his 'mate' back out of the bag! Made everyone think twice though didn't it? Effective....

Have you thought about doing your program at Secondary Schools? I think it would provoke many discussions...

Blossom said...

oh gosh.what a powerful moment!!

well done.

hugs

Mama Zen said...

Wow!

Alison said...

MistressB - I hope so, too

Melody - Yes, locking his mate up was pretty stupid. Unfortunately, people do stupid things when they've had too much to drink, and when they get behind the wheel the consequences can be deadly.
I've done a couple of secondary school programs, but none as One Second. I tend to find the line between having an impact and traumatising is quite blurry when it comes to teens - and my intention is never to traumatise people.

Blossom - thanks!

Mama Zen - lol.. I am hoping that was a thought provoking wow!