The Doorknob Game

My informant is a close friend who I have known for many years. He is a 23-year-old college student and has lived his whole life in Orange County, California. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he attends the University of Southern California and comes from a prominently Scottish heritage.

I began by asking my informant if he could remember any games that he played as a kid. A game that he learned from his friends and that is perhaps a little less traditional. He smiled and asked me if I had every heard of the “Doorknob Game”?

Informant: “The doorknob game is really funny because of how stupid it is. Basically, someone farts, and if another person hears it, he can shout, “door knob” and the person who farted then has to run to find the nearest doorknob to touch. Anyone in the room at this time can punch him in the arm as many times as they like until the fart perpetrator reaches a doorknob. If a person farts around people who know the game, he can yell out “safety” immediately after he farts, before anyone can yell “doorknob” and then he is safe from having to run and find a doorknob.”

Analysis: This is a good example of a game that is passed down through friends in a group. It exemplifies the “in” versus the “out” people because if you know about this game then you are a part of the group. If you do not know about the game, then you are at risk of being punched several times. It is not until a person learns the rules of the game through watching it performed that he is included and thus becomes part of the inner circle of this group of friends.