As you get older and become a man, there’s certain things you grow out of. Saturday morning cartoons. Hide and seek. Pants.
But one thing we never grow out of as men is our desire to build. Build motherfuckin’ forts.
As a kid, a fort was a place of infinite wonder — a hall of solitude and man(boy)liness whereby a growing lad could be alone with his thoughts, Voltron action figures and Magic Treehouse books. Constructed of lamps, TVs, brooms, little brothers, and whatever the hell else you could tie a sheet or blanket to, these masculine fortresses of days past still contain some of the greatest memories a man can recall.
But despite the fact that you’re too poor to have more than one set of sheets, and you only own a single lamp that you acquired from a gyspy yard sale, whenever you see a shiny standing lamp with a brilliant golden point, or an old-school TV set with antenna on top, you can almost taste the dull instinct to construct a blanket lair of your own.
Many men live out this fantasy in real life, just in different ways. Think about it — what’s a man cave but the grown-up version of a blanket fort?
Not everyone can have a full-fledged man cave — it requires money. Money requires work. And nobody wants to do that.
Yet some men, some bold, glorious men have decided to take the short path to enlightenment. They’ve figured out the trick to fortiness and peaceful, childlike solitude while engaged in your occupatory duties. How?
By making forts at work, so they can get paid to hang and shoot the shit, free from the distractions of the annoying coworker or the fun-hating boss.These guys are masterminds.
Like this guy who created a secret cove out of his company’s packing boxes.
Or this guy who constructed a crawlable fort:
Depending on where you work, there’s plenty of ways to build your own bad-ass fort, so you can keep cooties and that annoying small-talking parrot out, and the ice cool breeze that resonates from your pores in.
Oh, and this way you can watch porn in peace, free from the annoying persistence of that guy in the office that always wants to talk sports that you couldn’t give less of a shit about.
Step 1: Plan Your Design
A lot of people just go right into building their fort, without considering the design. This leads to a shitty fort. Do you really want a shitty fort like the one below? Didn’t think so.
Here’s what you have to consider when planning your fort.
First, consider your current situation. Are you stuck in a cubicle? Well, that might not be that bad. You can utilize the walls for maximum solitude.
Second, what materials do you have on hand? Cardboard is your best friend when it comes to office fort construction. It’s pliable, easy to stack, and disrupts the auditory and visual connections from the outside world that needlessly interrupt your inner manly tranquility.
Also, it just so happens that cardboard is the most commonly discarded product in your average office environment. This means that you’ll have it readily available. Spend a couple of weeks before you build your fort learning the trash schedule of your office. Learn when cardboard gets dropped off and when it gets picked up, and plan accordingly.
Bonus points: If you work at a big enough corporation, many times these mega-companies will dispense with their old computers and other office electronics almost weekly. By going through your office’s cardboard refuse, there’s a good chance you could stumble upon some very valuable booty, like perfectly good processors or monitors.
Third, take a look at some other designs, like those above. You might want to go for the tough-to-access but extremely noticeable crawlspace fort. Or, you might want to go for the tough-to-access but extremely noticeable castle fort. Or you might want to go with the tough-to-access but extremely noticeable house fort. It’s your call.
If you’re worried about your fort being taken down or being ordered by HR to remove it yourself, there’s the option of the closet fort, or the warehouse fort. These are different beasts than the office fort, but what you give up in grandiosity, you make up for in secrecy. Identify a rarely watched closet in the office, or if you have a warehouse, buddy up with some of the workers there (by that I mean, buy them a bag of weed), and they can help “clear some space” on the warehouse shelf for you.
The key is to know what you want before you set out on your journey, because you’ll need to work fast once you get the chance.
Step 2: Build It Up!
Now comes the actual part where you construct your fort. Some things to consider when building your castle:
Unless you work at the coolest company in existence, nobody’s going to allow you to spend company time constructing an impenetrable wall of anti-social manliness. Your coworkers are guaranteed to be envious that you’re so much more awesome than they are that you have to rub it in their face with your office fort.
So you need to be able to build this thing in peace. When can you do that? Well, if everyone leaves for lunch at the same time, you can get to work then, but only enact this plan of action if you’re a quick worker and your design is simple. Then you can pretend that it just magically appeared while you were out at lunch.
The best way to do it is to “stay late” on Friday. Mention(loudly)that you’ve got “some important deadline stuff to work out with the new client” and nobody will even bat an eye. In fact, most people will be impressed at some form of your “go-getter attitude”, your “desire to achieve” or your “willingness to go above and beyond”.
This is when you go to work on your creation. Be wary though, just because your coworkers are gone, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. Here’s some things you might have to do to ensure you get away with it.
- Watch out for security cameras. The damn things are everywhere in the modern office. If there’s one honed in on your preferred castle region, utilize spray paint, a piece of tape or a small electromagnetic pulse to take care of it.
- Sanitation professionals. It’s the weekend; that means your office is getting cleaned. Chances are, these janitorial experts won’t give a flying fish that you’re in the office, but they’re something to be aware of.
- Windows. If you’re doing stuff by the windows, there’s a possibility that a Good Samaritan driving by could see you constructing a giant castle, and they could be tempted to contact the authorities. Or, your workaholic boss could be stopping by to “get some work done” (read: escape the tribulations of a dying marriage) and walk in on you. Nobody wins.
Step 3: Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor.
You’ve finished your secret lair. Now you get to bask in your hard work. Enjoy the freedom of your new office castle, and delight in the envious glow of your coworkers. You have established your kingdom in this land, and now all of the powerless peons around the office cannot annoy you with their inferior worries.
The big trick here is to work really, really hard the first day or the first few hours that you arrive. Pretend like your fort is no big deal, and act so nonchalant that it’s like you didn’t even notice the glorious fort that surrounds you. It’s of pivotal importance that you get as much shit done as quickly as possible, because when you run into trouble with your superior (which is a distinct likelihood), you can relate to them the distractions that occur when from the rest of the office, and show them your results from your new fortress of solitude.
The modern manager doesn’t give a shit about “office dynamics” anymore — efficiency is king now. Use this to your advantage; if you can prove you’re working more efficiently in your castle, they’ll probably let your glorious testament to boyhood stay.
Once you’ve conquered this initial conversation, you’re free to slack off to your heart’s content, just like you always have. Only now, you have the freedom to slack off on your own terms.
Bonus: More Ideas To Draw From
If you’re having trouble picking the right design for your office fort, here’s some good suggestions.
1. The Cube of Darkness
Not pretty, but it gets the job done. Also, where did these bats come from?
2. Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood
I admire the attention to detail. Look at the tiny bit of coal smoke coming from the chimney.
3. Castle Cubiclestein
Now this is an office fort. With drawbridge, retractable cage door, and easy access to the cubbies.
4. The Rowhouse
A quaint little getaway, complete with mail slot, so you can have even less human interaction that the fort affords.
5. Fort Fail
Horrible window placement. You can see her screen, for God’s sake. Why even bother with a real window?
6. The Church of Cardboard
The strange cross aside, this is a proper office fort. Seclusion, difficulty of entrance and Iron Maiden posters. Well played.
Double Bonus: The God Mode Office Fort
So a couple years back ,the crack team of “journalists” at CNN stumbled upon this amazing fortress that lazy-minded workers constructed in the nooks of an EPA warehouse.
This extends far beyond an office fort. This is a full-blown office Man Cave. Check the pictures below, courtesy of CNN.