Dream of: 20 March 1977 "Breath-Holding Contest"

I was in a gigantic hall with about 50 other men. We were at a meeting and had eaten a large feast. While we all sat around after the meal, I wondered how well I could hold my breath in relation to the other people here. I decided we should have a breath-holding contest. I persuaded the others to do it and we proceeded.

First I had each person tell me how well he thought he would be able to do in relation to the others. I asked each person what percentage bracket, to the nearest five percent, he thought he would be in when compared to the others. For myself, I thought I would be in the top 20%. One fellow sitting near me said 4%, which rounded off to 5%. Another said he would be in the top 10%. But I was surprised to hear most people say about 50%, and I wondered if I hadn't estimated myself too high.

I had a pen and paper and wrote each person's name and estimate. One person, whom I identified as B.G. Noel (a Portsmouth acquaintance), refused to comply. So we asked him to leave the room until we finished.

We then discussed the format of the contest and decided that each person would have three tries and that their final result would be the average of the three scores. One person, an older man, was appointed to signal the beginning. But each individual was charged with determining exactly when he stopped, and was required therefore to have a watch with a second hand or sit near someone with such a watch. Many people had watches, but some people didn't. I indicated to the crowd that if anyone needed a watch, they could sit next to me and use mine.

During the proceedings I was gradually increasing my breath intake. The contest was almost ready to begin. I inhaled as deeply as I could and filed my lungs to capacity.

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