When Chris was about four I took him, and his six year old sister, to visit my friend, Jane. Jane had two girls about the same ages. The kids were great friends.
Jane had a slot mailbox that you had to walk by to get to the front door. The mailbox just dropped mail right into the house.
When Chris walked by he stuck his arm into the mail slot to wave “Hi!” inside the house. He stuck it in clear past the elbow yelling “Hi! Hi!”……… Way to go, Slick. He couldn’t pull his arm back out.
Jane answered the door just as Chris was starting to panic. Jane said, “Hi ya!”
I said, “Chris is stuck in your mailbox!”
She said, “Seriously?”
I said, “Serious as a train wreck!” and gestured toward him.
She looked at him in amazement and said, “How does he manage to keep doing things like this??”
“I don’t know!”
So she fetched some cooking oil and we greased him up. No luck.
She fetched some soap and we soaped him up. No luck.
She fetched some Crisco and we Criscoed him up. Not sure how Crisco would do something that the oil wouldn’t, but still no luck. We tried butter, Pam, everything. I’m thinking about when Pooh got stuck in Rabbit’s hole and starting to wonder how long we might have to starve him.
Chris was quietly whimpering until about half way through this odyssey when he suddenly cried out, “Nooo! I don’t wanna play!!!”
Jane and I said, “What??” at the same time.
“Th…th..they’re pl..pl..playing Adams Family and they said I…I…I’m the Thing and they k…k…keep trying to make me ho…ho….hold mail AND I DON’T WANNA PLAY!” he wailed, his voice rising to a crescendo. Yeah, the children who were free were playing Adam’s Family in the house and Chris was the star. They kept trying to shove mail in his hand and getting mad when he wouldn’t hold it!
“KNOCK IT OFF YOU GUYS! LEAVE ‘EM ALONE!!!”
So the girls went somewhere else to wreak heaky and we went back to work.
After 10 minutes Jane looked at me with big eyes and said, “Um….I…. think we need to call 911…?…”
I just nodded mutely. I mean, there was nothing we could do!
So Jane went into the house. I wasn’t about to leave Chris alone, so I stayed on the porch with him.
Well, when we had shown up Jane was frying potatoes on the stove, and, for some reason, had completely forgotten about them. Just as she connected to dispatch, the potatoes started burning and smoking, and the smoke detectors started shrieking. The girls grabbed dish towels and were running around, flapping them, screaming, “FIRE! FIRE!” So here’s Jane, balanced on a chair, stretching the phone cord as far as it would go, trying to knock the smoke detector off the wall with a broom handle, telling dispatch “No! There is no fire! There’s a kid stuck in my mailbox! NO, THERE IS NO FIRE YOU GIRLS SHUT UP!!”
I learned all of that later. All I heard from out on the porch were the fire alarms going off, people screaming “FIRE! FIRE!” in the house….and here’s my kid, stuck in the freaking WALL OF THE HOUSE! Chris was old enough to know what smoke detectors screaming meant and he looked at me with terrified eyes.
Up to that point it had been just another day in the life with this kid who I wound up with on a hot July day in 1987. He’d been getting into weird spots since the early months of his life. But at this point I started to seriously panic. I looked around wildly for a chainsaw, a sledgehammer….ANYTHING that would allow me to do what Raegan told Mr. Gorbachev to do!! I was gonna tear that shit DOWN, with my bare hands, if I had to! I was frantically looking for a spot to get started, when Jane rushed out to assure me the house wasn’t on fire. So her wall was spared and we just waited.
Within seconds we heard the sound of the sirens approaching. They sent paramedics and TWO fire trucks. The fire trucks soon left though, because there was no fire. Just a kid in a mailbox.
As the paramedics approached I heard one say, “Hey..isn’t that the same kid who got his head stuck in a stair railing?”
“Yeah. And got stuck in a VCR once.”
They said that his sister looked like the kid who got her tongue stuck in a fridge once.
Just shut up, guys, and get my kid out of there!
All the commotion and lights and sirens distracted Chris so he was quietly staring in awe at the flashing mess in the street, but when the fire trucks left he started crying again.
The paramedics soon realized they really COULDN’T just pull his arm back out, but they had the tools to remove the flap, which gave him about an extra 1/8 inch of clearance, which was just enough.
As they were working I asked Jane for a camera. She looked at me like I’d gone mad! She went and got one and quietly handed it to me. You should have seen the paramedic’s face when the flash went off! Crazy people in this neighborhood.
Suddenly, it was done. Trucks were gone. Jane and the kids were in the house. Chris and I were standing alone, on the porch. The silence was deafening. Slowly the birds got the nerve to come back out and start singing a little. I walked to Jane’s door and timidly rang the doorbell again. She opened the door, saw me and screamed, “NO!!!”
She started to slam the door closed, but then realized she still had my other kid and would have to raise her and feed her and cloth her if she didn’t let me back in, so she did.
That was many moons ago. There were many more Stupid Chris Stories to come in the following years, mostly involving blood, but eventually he developed into a wonderful young man who grew some brains along the way. He finally figured what was, and was not, OK to stick body parts in, so now he has 3 lovely children.
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