735: Floor

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We once got grounded when we convinced the FAA to block flights through our county because of ash clouds.
Title text: We once got grounded when we convinced the FAA to block flights through our county because of ash clouds.


The floor is lava is a game many kids play where they pretend the floor is lava, meaning that they can't step on it or else they'll get 'burned'. In this comic, the three kids are taking this game too seriously (and in a nerdy way), causing great damage to the house with what appears to be a garden hose and some dynamite.

Stopping a lava flow by diverting it into an artificial trench or cooling the flow with (sea)water are both tactics that have been used in the past with varying success.

The title text refers to events like the 2010 eruptions at Eyjafjallajökull, the ash clouds of which caused the shutdown of most of Europe's IFR airspace. The first joke there is that grounding a child often means to consign them to their bedroom for a set period of hours (as a punishment), whereas grounding a plane means to disallow any use of that plane for an extended period of time. The most notable example of this is Concorde, which has been indefinitely grounded. The second joke is that causing panic and diverting a large number of flights would cause lots of financial damage, and would normally be subject to more punishment than simply giving the kids a time-out.


[Three Cueball-like kids are in a living room. Furniture and other things are knocked over, broken, or tilted. The first kid is holding a handle of a plunger with cables going offscreen.]
First Kid: I've dynamited a trench through the kitchen to divert flow!
[The second kid is aiming a hose at the floor.]
Second Kid: More hoses! We need to cool and solidify the surface layer!
[The third kid is standing on a chair, using a cell phone or radio.]
Third Kid: Where are the damn helicopters?
[Caption beneath the panel:]
Like many kids, we sometimes pretended the floor was lava.

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Is the kid on the right standing in the lava, or is the little square mat around him supposed to be a raft or something? Davidy22(talk) 10:53, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Do you mean left? If it's the kid on the left, I think that according to the rules of childhood, standing on a rug can count as not being on the "floor" of course it depends on the rules you're playing by, but I think that's what's happening. lcarsos (talk) 16:24, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Why has nobody mentioned the film about the volcano... called... oh, yes, "Volcano". Tommy-Lee Jones (with help!) used dynamite and water and all kinds of other tricks to basically save... Los Angeles, wasn't it? Also, while Concorde is a nice mention (I miss it), apart from the dubious distinction of being grounded it's not really overly relevent to Volcanoes or even an air-space lock-down, is it? A more blanket grounding of planes could be mentioned and/or referenced, such as immediately post-9/11 over the US or even the larger, trans-European-and-beyond, grounding of planes due to the whole Icelandic thing which actually applies even more directly, and is probably more likely what is actually being alluded to.

Also, while I don't think I played 'Volcano', by that name, the rules I know for games like this are that the 'bare' floor (floorboards, linoleum, fitted carpet, tiles, whatever it is) is indeed magma, shark-infested ocean, electrified, an infinitely deep chasm or whatever the current make-believe is, with chairs, tables, rugs or even the likes of discarded socks (mostly things 'pre-deployed' prior to the start of the game, rather than placed as the need becomes apparent to 'bridge' a 'gap') being safe islands or platforms or similar for the purposes of the 'game environment'. Of course the mutability of said rules is probably typical of such childhood nomics, and so of course YMMV. 21:40, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

When I was in CIT at summer camp (some years ago now), we were told not to tell kids (so as to make-believe) that the floor was lava because some children actually did feel anxiety about the ordeal (paired with other children clearly having fun worsening the matter). We were instructed to use alternatives such as non-shark-infested water, paint, having cooties, or peanut butter (because of allergies), the last of which I didn't understand/agree with as an adequate alternative under the original argument. 19:37, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, that's kind of... what would that imply? For non-sufferers, it's at worst a little icky to walk in and ickier to contemplate eating if people have been stepping in it; for the most sensitive of sufferers, the only safe place is out of the room. (Of course "the floor is lava" already implies that convection doesn't exist within the confines of the game; perhaps airborne allergens don't, in that version?) Nyperold (talk) 06:19, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Has anyone noticed that the art style, with the exception of the stick figures, appears to be similar to that of Calvin and Hobbes?

Although the title text precludes the possibility through direct implication, these kids seem unusually tall for Munroe's style; makes it kinda funnier imo. 12:32, 5 January 2023 (UTC)

Looking at the size of the chair one is standing on (and the table, etc), I think comparable to later 'kids', who often tend to be depicted sitting 'legs up' on chairs (in front of computer desks, e.g.) rather than standing on them (or dangling their legs) as their size difference to any standard figures is made clear. But this is a comparatively early comic. And who knows at what age all the kids really are, so scale of all 'young' figures will be on a continuum between infant and adult, not always consistent with other kids. 15:36, 5 January 2023 (UTC)