if it's going to be broken, it may as well be funny.
May 14, 2013 4:52 PM   Subscribe

What creative poster/thing could I put inside the empty phone box in my elevator?

Currently, the phone box in my elevator is empty except for some stange metal bits that may have at one point been attached to a phone and some stupid graffiti (not particularly inappropriate, just stupid). It opens if you pull it, but I don't think people do that very often.

I'd like to put some sort of 8.5x11 poster or funny something in it (something 3d would also fit, if it was a few inches in diameter or smaller), at nominal cost for maximum funny. Nothing that would cause permanent damage, obviously. Any thoughts?

The only thing I can think of is printing out some sort of meme and that is both not very funny and I can't even think of what I would pick. I'm basically just looking to plant some sort of easter egg to make people smile, clever would be nice.

The building is about 2/3 college students and 1/3 very elderly people, with a few conventional residents as well. Something that college students would find amusing is probably ideal, though I'd like to keep the humor pretty clean.
posted by R a c h e l to Grab Bag (35 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Dr Who joke? This sign with blue edging and maybe you could do the "Police [Public Call] Box" sign up at head height
posted by jacalata at 4:56 PM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

That's what the knick-knacks aisle at Goodwill is for! Lots of awesomely ridiculous stuff and, shit, it's 99ยข so you can replace it every week.
posted by halogen at 4:59 PM on May 14, 2013 [5 favorites]

Make a little free library!
posted by divined by radio at 5:02 PM on May 14, 2013 [9 favorites]

get toys from capsule machines, line them up
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:05 PM on May 14, 2013

Something like this?
posted by tenaciousmoon at 5:14 PM on May 14, 2013

One of those gag cans of mints with the spring-loaded snake inside.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:18 PM on May 14, 2013

I'd love to see a perfectly-fitted miniature building when you opened the door, as if you had opened a dollhouse. You could take some measurements and build the thing from foamcore, glue in some figurines and accessories, and slide the whole thing in with bluetack to hold it in place.
posted by a halcyon day at 5:23 PM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, I should mention that I am possibly moving out of this building at the end of the week, so I'm also possibly looking for low-to-no maintenance efforts to leave my legacy for a little while.

It's possibly I won't though (I love know where I'm living more than a week in advance!), so both higher-ish and lower maintenance ideas are welcome.

If there's anything that could be a joke about the idea that the elevator is TERRIBLE and THE SLOWEST EVER, that could also be funny.
posted by R a c h e l at 5:28 PM on May 14, 2013

A sex toy behind glass? In case of emergency ...
posted by Bruce H. at 5:33 PM on May 14, 2013

How about a log written by someone who died while waiting for the elevator to reach their floor?

Something like: "Day 23....I think the elevator has stopped moving altogether. There is nothing left to eat now that I have finished pulling up all of the carpet."
posted by orme at 5:46 PM on May 14, 2013 [17 favorites]

Spinning off orme's idea, how about a blank notebook and pen for people to doodle in while they wait for the elevator to reach their floor?
posted by justjess at 5:54 PM on May 14, 2013

Can you really go wrong with a plastic banana in this situation?
posted by CutaneousRabbit at 5:55 PM on May 14, 2013 [12 favorites]

I like the miniature scene suggestion, be it a doll house or some other theme. A doll who's built a lean-to out of fragments from an old telephone could be entertaining.

The take-something leave-something box is also a fun standby. Having launched a few into the world in the past, it seems the more official and permanent it looks, the more likely it is to survive.

It's not terribly original, but a "suggestion box" or a "take or leave a suggestion box" with a pen and some cards can be entertaining. It doesn't really work without some amount of upkeep, though. The same goes for a stand containing "awards for curiosity" with signatures and stamps and a blank spot for the name.

If you want to go for the cheap-shot meme, a nicely framed portrait of Rick Astley is hard to beat. (If you have, or would like to acquire, basic electronics skills, adding a small photodetector-triggered audio player would turn it from a slight chuckle into something truly fantastic. But, obviously that requires more time and effort.)
posted by eotvos at 6:04 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Take a picture of the closed phone box. Print it to just under actual size. Paste inside box.
posted by myselfasme at 6:09 PM on May 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

Tear out this page from The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook, and paste inside the phone box.
posted by AlliKat75 at 6:16 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I always liked this utilization of an empty pay phone.
posted by komara at 7:17 PM on May 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Something with a Superman theme?
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:20 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Attach a dial or switch to the back wall of the box and label it ELEVATOR SPEED CONTROL.
posted by islander at 7:40 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

orme's suggestion made me laugh and laugh, and then laugh again when I randomly remembered it later, so that's definitely my vote.

A spiral-bound notebook and a few pens, so a neverending story can be written by each new occupant during their respective interminable wait in the elevator, word by agonizing word.

Some scraps of paper, a pen, and a small decorated box with a hole cut in the lid like you had for Valentine's Day in elementary school, labeled "Feed me, the elevator will run faster!" or "Secrets only!"

And before you move out, an envelope of photos of you/your friends, preferably dressed in ostentatious tourist clothing (huge sunglasses, khaki shorts, those hats, cameras), posed like a tourist postcard. Bonus if you write something cute on the back -- "Our vacation was such a bore until we found this AMAZING elevator! It's so quaint and folksy, it just takes forever to get anywhere. I guess that's just how they do things in [your city]. There's no place like home, wish you were here!"
posted by divined by radio at 7:53 PM on May 14, 2013

posted by theora55 at 8:09 PM on May 14, 2013

An etchasketch permanently glued there so people can leave each other messages.
posted by Jubey at 8:14 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Print out a retro picture of an elevator operator, wearing the gloves and little red cap. Put him behind the glass with a speech bubble saying "Get me out of here."
posted by third rail at 8:26 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you're willing to invest about 8 bucks:

1. Go here, buy blank audio card
2. Record the bananaphone song into the card
3. Create or write your own greeting
4. Tape or glue both sides of the card into the phone box so that when the door opens, the card opens with it
5. Hilarity ensues
posted by SquidLips at 8:39 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I know you said no memes, but I seriously can't think of any answer to this question besides this.
posted by greenland at 8:42 PM on May 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

"Press button to wake second hamster."
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:26 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

My college dorm had a weird little box built into the wall, covered by a small door. Most people ignored it, but my friends and I put in a colored poster of Tom Jones (the "It's Not Unusual" singer) and eventually added flowers, candles, love notes, etc. It was, to college-age us, absolutely hilarious. So my suggestion is to make a Tom Jones shrine.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 10:45 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Two tin cans connected by string.
posted by Cranberry at 11:36 PM on May 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Does an old video game reference get disqualified under the meme restriction? Because the first thing I thought of was Super Mario Brothers: "Thank you, Mario, but our emergency phone is in another elevator!"
posted by solotoro at 2:14 AM on May 15, 2013

A variation on the tiny dollhouse: make it a diorama of tiny elevator repairmen (have something like "Otis Elevators" on their workshirts), working on repairing the elevator. Use mechanical bits, wires, all kinds of stuff to be their parts and tools.
posted by easily confused at 2:50 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

One of these guys. Super-glue it down if you have to.
posted by duffell at 4:31 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd just put something in there that says: "Stuck in the elevator? You're screwed."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:57 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

> An etchasketch permanently glued there so people can leave each other messages

How would you shake it clean, though?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:51 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mini Clark Kent clothes and eyeglasses.
posted by acorncup at 10:23 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

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