When Santa got stuck in the chimney...
December 22, 2014 12:49 PM   Subscribe

"Eventually I got my phone up and called 999. “Ambulance, fire brigade or police?” they asked. “I’m stuck in a chimney,” I replied, and they repeated the question with more urgency. “I don’t know, I’ve never been here before,” I said, then decided on fire brigade."
posted by EndsOfInvention (41 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Even without the telltale "fire brigade" and "999" I would immediately have known the victim was a brit, purely from the embarrassed apologetic tone of the "I've never been here before" line. The rest of the article is similarly delightful.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:56 PM on December 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


One of the the things I miss least about hanging out with drunken stoner idiots is that now, when I'm in a potentially life-threatening or injurious situation, nobody points and laughs or ignores it. Now people help and would certainly call the fire department if needed.

This guy needs new friends.
posted by bondcliff at 1:00 PM on December 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


Always pick fire brigade.
posted by Kabanos at 1:10 PM on December 22, 2014 [11 favorites]


Many years ago, when my parents were first married, the only place to fit the bed in their tiny studio apartment was next to the bathroom door. One day while my mother was in the shower, my dad decided it would be funny to take off all of his clothes, hide under the bed, and grab her ankle when she came out of the bathroom.

It goes pretty much like you'd expect. My mom shrieks, my dad laughs, revenge is vowed. But then...

My dad realizes that he's stuck. He can't get out from under the bed. HO HO! The tables now are turned! Mom spends a while amusing herself by tickling him and throwing things at him while he's helpless to stop her, and then she gets bored and wanders off for a while. Eventually she decides that he's been sufficiently chastised, and tries to help him out from under the bed. The bed is too heavy for her to lift.

Ultimately, the fire department had to be called to assist my father out from under the bed. He had to explain why he was naked and pinned under the furniture, and it was agreed upon by everyone there that he'd gotten exactly what was coming to him.

So anyway, that's pretty much a microcosm of what life was like in my family. I figure that there's a certain sort of family where people try to be clever and end up getting stuck in things, and if you don't come from that sort of family, you're never really going to get it.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:22 PM on December 22, 2014 [85 favorites]


Always pick fire brigade.

Or at least, for the love of god, never pick police.
posted by Naberius at 1:24 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


I feel like I'm always reading about people trying to get into houses through chimneys and not realizing it could be narrow.

Worst story I ever read was of this beloved doctor who tried to trespass into her boyfriend's house via chimney. It's horrible.
posted by discopolo at 1:34 PM on December 22, 2014


Why did he take off all his clothes?

I would assume he was expecting sexytimes to ensue.
posted by maryr at 1:37 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is of a different person who tried to climb into the chimney of a guy she went on a date with.

I just don't get it.
posted by discopolo at 1:39 PM on December 22, 2014


I just don't get it.

This is the real reason not to lie to your kids about Santa Claus.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:40 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is the real reason not to lie to your kids about Santa Claus.

Why not just tweak the story instead? Since lots of folks don't have fireplaces.
posted by discopolo at 1:43 PM on December 22, 2014


Why did he take off all of his clothes?

I try not to dwell too much on my parents' sex lives, so I'm just going to choose to believe that it's because anything that's funny is funnier if you can do it naked.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:50 PM on December 22, 2014 [35 favorites]


Why not just tweak the story instead?

Every year, Santa breaks out his bump keys and pick-sets and visits the home of every good girl and boy.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:50 PM on December 22, 2014 [14 favorites]


Alternate explanation: It was the 70s, and cocaine is one Hell of a drug.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:51 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


jcreigh: Why did he take off all his clothes?

You can't jolly well expect to get rugburn on your wang while wearing clothes, can you?
posted by dr_dank at 1:52 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Why not just tweak the story instead? Since lots of folks don't have fireplaces.

With the chimney no longer so ubiquitous the truth has finally emerged: Santa Claus is a bank of sentient utility foglets that will grey-goo bits of soil in order to reconstitute some of the mass into small gifts, drifting through any opening in your house in order to deliver your present. Originally, it wasn't very good at manipulating carbon and so all anyone got was coal. Thankfully, time has improved its skill and its bedside manner. It no longer allows people to see it in dispersed form, drastically cutting down on the number of vampire reports authorities receive.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:55 PM on December 22, 2014 [44 favorites]


Slackermagee, please write a children's book.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 1:57 PM on December 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


Can I hand it off onto CStross instead? I love his writing.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:58 PM on December 22, 2014


It's been done - the villian in Un Lun Dun is Smog.
posted by maryr at 2:02 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


(If you don't have a Christmas present yet, I highly recommend that book. It's really fantastic.)
posted by maryr at 2:03 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


This happened when my sister was at Cornell. (NYT)
posted by oflinkey at 2:06 PM on December 22, 2014


This story is perilously close to being a Murakami novel. Now if after he got out, he met an enigmatic teenager and made spaghetti, it would have it all.
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:09 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Here are some of the pictures mentioned in the article that were buried in the comments.

I just don't get it.

The story is a front. It's SWAT field-testing a new no-knock entry procedure.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 2:12 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


A chimney is clearly an erect column, yet Santa enters through it. And why do all these women get stuck in chimneys pursuing failed romances? What would Freud have to say?
posted by ennui.bz at 2:13 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I got stuck in the chimney of an outdoor fireplace when I was a kid. Nobody noticed me missing for a while, and I distinctly remember the point where I finally ran out of ideas for extricating myself and resigned myself to my fate.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:14 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Clearly the women getting stuck in their dates chimneys is symbolism for bend-over-boyfriend sexyfuntimes.
posted by idiopath at 2:28 PM on December 22, 2014


“I’m stuck in a chimney.” “Where?” At this point I realised that I didn’t actually know where I was. I called my friend Max to ask for the address. “Why do you want that? Are you going back?” he asked. “I’m still there.” “Really? I haven’t seen you for hours!” “Yes, I’m in the chimney.”

I've read this about 5 times, and "Yes, I'm in the chimney" unfailingly makes me do out-loud lols.
posted by billiebee at 2:35 PM on December 22, 2014 [5 favorites]




The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn't home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. That's when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.
posted by maxsparber at 2:49 PM on December 22, 2014 [9 favorites]


Source for those of you who were as horrified by maxsparber's story as I was, but were maybe a little more credulous and/or don't remember the 80s very well.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:54 PM on December 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


“Ambulance, fire brigade or police?”

"All of them, and fast! There's an ill burglar on fire.'”
posted by Wolfdog at 2:57 PM on December 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm really having a hard time imagining the dimensions of this chimney such that he could retrieve his phone and remove most of his clothing but not go either down or up.

Also, doesn't Britain believe in chimney caps?!
posted by backseatpilot at 3:01 PM on December 22, 2014


Britain believes in chimney caps, but only because nobody has the heart to tell it they don't exist.
posted by The World Famous at 3:12 PM on December 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


This story makes me wonder how many other people have been left stuck in chimneys around Britain.
posted by fshgrl at 3:23 PM on December 22, 2014


If I buy a house with a chimney I'm immediately installing it with a panic button and a well-stocked mini-fridge.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


One of the the things I miss least about hanging out with drunken stoner idiots is that now, when I'm in a potentially life-threatening or injurious situation, nobody points and laughs or ignores it. Now people help and would certainly call the fire department if needed.

This guy needs new friends.


A-fucking-men. that combination of "haha oh man that shits HILARIOUS dude" and "oh god if we call 911 are we going to get in TEH TROUBLE!?!?" as if they're 14 year olds in their parents basement who don't want to get their nintendo taken away gets tired really fast.

i haven't directly seen anyone die from it yet, but i know people who have. and i've definitely seen stuff go WAY further than it should before someone actually goes to the hospital, or just "sleeps it off" or is just stuck in some stupid situation because people can't stop laughing or going pfffft.
posted by emptythought at 4:01 PM on December 22, 2014


I would have laughed but also called 911.
posted by atoxyl at 4:38 PM on December 22, 2014


I'm really having a hard time imagining the dimensions of this chimney such that he could retrieve his phone and remove most of his clothing but not go either down or up.

It has to do with his moods. Because he could go down the chimney up but not up the chimney down. Getting one's pants off in a compromising position is always possible because of the Law of a Conservation of Embarrassment.

Essentially, the answer is Science!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:06 PM on December 22, 2014


I read this article and all I can think of is the following scenario:

Man (on fire): "HAALP!"
999 Operator: "Ambulance, Fire Brigade, or Police?"
Man (on fire): "HAAAAALP! I'm turning into a crisp!"
999 Operator (more urgently): "Sir, Ambulance, Fire Brigade, or Police!?"
Man (seriously ON FIRE): "AAAA!!! I'm on fire and there's badgers crawling around inside my pants, and they're on fire too!"
999 Operator (exasperated): "Sir, if you cannot tell me how to direct your call, I will be forced to disconnect. You can also be expected to have an asbo mailed to you shortly."
Man: "My apologies ma'am. Please send the fire brigade at your earliest convenience."
posted by surazal at 7:24 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's something stuck up in the chimney and I don't know what it is. This song hasn't been posted yet?

Anyway, when my parents got some kind of giant pipe stuck up their chimney, I asked how Santa was going to get in now. They were all, "the front door." That made sense. More sense than a chimney, really.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:35 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


This story makes me wonder how many other people have been left stuck in chimneys around Britain.

Not sure about people, but there was this pigeon.
posted by Kabanos at 7:07 AM on December 23, 2014


This story makes me wonder how many other people have been left stuck in chimneys around Britain.

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry " 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!"
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.
posted by maxsparber at 7:08 AM on December 23, 2014


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