The lesson from these survivals is don’t believe anyone who tells you, ´You´re gonna DIE!´.  But I had to put myself in the coffin after one cold freight trip in 1985. That winter, I returned to my alma matter MSU seeking two things: warmth and money.  I spent my last $50 on a simple pine coffin constructed by the woodwork instructor, who introduced me to the sociology dean at Lansing Community College, who hired me to teach a sociology course ´Hobo Life in America´.

You bet I took the first check and lined the coffin with electric blankets to sleep like a baby through the Michigan winter in a Lansing basement. The first night in the coffin was risky because I shut the door tight in the unheated basement, and mentally calculated its cubic volume, my tidal respiration, and using a factor of 80% exhaled oxygen per breath determined there was enough to last eight hours, but set an alarm clock for seven hours as a failsafe.

The coffin from which I popped the next morning like a Jack-in-Box illustrates the formula for survivals: You venture beyond where most go, there´s a jam, you calculate the risk factors, and use a store of knowledge and experience to escape. I obviously have no death wish, but purely a strong will to calculate survival.