The Line Game - Courtesy of Sigmund Freud

January 4th, 1998

When I was a kid my Dad and I used to play drawing games. Sometimes he would draw a primitive shape or letter and hand it to me, and I would have to turn it into something interesting. An “S” might become a snake, a square might turn into a simple house, etc. Then I would make a squiggle of my own and give it to him to finish, and we would go back and forth like that until one of us ran out of ideas or got bored. So I guess it wasn’t really much of a “game”, but I liked creative drawing so it was fun nonetheless.

Magna Doodle... the most optimal place for drawing boobs and butts since 1974.Often my Dad and I would play the game on my Magna Doodle. You remember those things, right? It had a magnetic tethered pen, a couple of geometrically shaped stamps, and a slider bar that erased your work like “magic”. If yours was anything like mine it probably looked something like that picture on the right except instead of a kitty it probably had some assortment of genitalia drawn on it. Well, maybe not back then, but if you rummaged around to find yours now I bet it would. Because really, what good are creative kids’ toys if your college buddies can’t defile them with their dirty minds later in life?

Anyway, the point is I used to really enjoy drawing, and “The Line Game” as I think we called it was one of my favorites. So I was somewhat pleased when, in my Senior year high school Psych class (of all places), I was presented with the following assignment:

Most superfluous definition... ever

And the two figures were:

It’s not exactly clear to me what this had to do with Psychology, or how interesting the results could possibly be (with a class of about 15 people, what are the chances that any two draw the same thing?) but I figured it was a rare opportunity to play The Line Game again and actually get class credit for it, so I gave it a shot. The shapes weren’t exactly the most inspiring, but I made do with what I was given and came up with the following:

1. The Asshole Elephant


I remember being annoyed that the “S” shape was so large on the page that it didn’t leave room for much else, so I allowed my elephant character to take his frustration out on an unsuspecting tourist using his disproportionately long trunk. I added the “WELCOME TO THE ZOO” banner to provide context, I suppose, in case it wasn’t already blatantly obvious they weren’t in the lobby of a Fortune 500 company or something. But it’s just as well because after all, if your workplace had a mischievous elephant greeting you with a blast of fountain spit every time you walked by, you probably wouldn’t get much done.

2. Out of Time

This guy is really fucked now!

It would seem this guy’s got it a little rough. I am not sure if this is a statement of how overburdened I felt at the time, or if it’s just the first thing that popped into my head, but it seems like the kind of comically sadistic thing I would have drawn back then. I am also not sure why the hourglass is staged in front of a dresser, but it was probably to point out that the hourglass is not insanely huge, but that the unlucky dude trapped in it is insanely tiny.

This leads me to another point: If you ever find yourself stuck in an hourglass like that guy, don’t be an idiot and lie down. Your situation is bad enough as it is, since you’re stuck in a fucking hourglass and all, but lying down just ensures that it will only take a couple of inches of sand to kill you as opposed to much more. That’s the kind of behavior that has stupid people drowning in puddles. Quite frankly, that guy doesn’t look like he’d be that bad off if he just stood up, ignoring the fact that he is, you know, still STUCK IN A FUCKING HOURGLASS.

While my drawings were nothing amazing, as you might imagine they didn’t match anyone else’s in the class. So what does this prove? Nothing. Awesome. In hindsight I think I could have done much better (or at least made them more disturbing) and I bet you could do better too. In fact, you will have the privilege of completing this “assignment” yourself if you perform the following steps:

  1. Download this PDF, or this JPEG. I digitally erased my drawings leaving only the original assignment. Sorry about the quality, but it’s a photoshop of a scan of a photocopy of an old textbook, so what do you expect?

  2. Print it out (or just open it in your favorite graphic editor)

  3. Draw on it

  4. Save it/scan it and send it back to me

Once I receive your “homework” I’ll post it on this page. Hell, maybe I’ll even grade it while I’m at it. Feel free to be as obscene as you want, but if it’s too ridiculous I probably won’t post it (though if I do it will most certainly have your name attached to it ;-).

So get your creative juices flowing, get doodling, and play The Line Game with me! I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.


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3 comments for “The Line Game - Courtesy of Sigmund Freud”

  1. What did the teacher comment?
    By the way, I friggin love the drawings.

  2. Thanks. You know, I didn’t see any comments on it - so either the Psych teacher wrote on a post-it note that fell off, or never even graded it. She was sort of an absentee teacher: hardly taught, hardly graded, wasn’t even there half the time (I think she was going through a divorce or something?). So this work probably fell on deaf… uh… eyes up until now - but not anymore!

    I’m especially interested to see what you might be able to do with it…

  3. I’m wondering of the person in the hourglass, was how you were feeling at that time. Is it showing two sides of your personality-the playful side and the obsessed side? Am I reading too much into it?I am not ready yet to submit a drawing. Interesting story.

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