Would you like to hear about my new favorite game?
Sure, I’d be glad to tell you about it.
When you live in a previously unseen city in a foreign country, very far away from your usual comfort zone, it becomes necessary to have some fun with the experience. For the first time in a long time, I find myself in a city where know very few people and, consequently, few know me. However, it is the kind of a situation that allows one to feel uninhibited and make no worry about the societal consequences of actions. It is all very liberating. With this spirit in mind, I have lately been playing a game that I like to call: Mr. Out of Context.
The premise of this pastime is simple: say things that some might overhear out of context to get a rise out of those nearby. It’s easy. Fun too.
All one needs to play is a mobile phone and an audience. You don’t always need the phone, although I often like to employ the fake phone call method. My favorite place to use it is either on the subway or in a public bathroom.
First, I’ll explain the subway method. Pretend to dial someone up and fake a conversation making sure to begin with some small talk. Now you’re ready to take a trip out of context. Just drop in some odd phrases, comments, or requests, loud enough to ensure that those in your vicinity can plainly hear, so as to peak their interest.
Aim for something along the lines of: “…What?…No, his poop smelt like cinnamon, it was mesmerizing….yeah…well just tell him to pick up some blow, a pack of condoms, and a Batman costume and meet us at her house around 8…Yeah, don’t bring any lipstick this time.”
Now, all you have to do is continue this strange banter for a stop or two. I prefer to mix some banal conversation about dinner plans in between to appear legit. When you’re about ready to stop, finish strong with something like: “…accidently shot pee where? Did he even know? How’s your eye now?” Then, simply “hang up”, jump to your feet and shout “MR. OUT OF CONTEXT!” to everyone around you as loud as possible. Wait a beat and then run away.
The other great place to do this is a public restroom: it’s quiet and catches others off guard. First, go into a stall. You want to either be talking on the phone as you walk in, or ensure you’re already making small talk when someone else does. So, while others are lined up at the urinal or taking a seat in the stall, you’re within the walls of your partition saying things like: “Look, this isn’t the first time there’s been three guys in one night….Of course…Well not all of them at the same time…Oh, like you’ve never had that much on your face!” By now you should be successfully weirding out almost anyone within earshot. Leap out of the stall and shout “MR. OUT OF CONTEXT!” as loud as possible. Wait an awkward beat, then run away.
Please note that Mr. Out of Context will not work in a bar. People are too tipsy to pay attention, and in a foreign country their English skills diminish. I find that university campuses or nice restaurants work best.
Another fun variation is doubles Mr. Out of Context. This requires another willing participant but it much more rewarding. Repeat the same scenario in any social situation – bonus points for doing it in a crowded elevator. Talk loudly, talk inappropriately, shout the name of the game together, and finish it with a tandem run away.
Everyone wins with Mr. Out of Context. You get some slight delight and others get something they perhaps had not yet seen that day. You can’t get away with Mr. Out of Context everywhere, but when you do, it’s a lot of fun.