Saturday, November 24, 2007

Some Things Are Better Left To Professionals!

It's the holiday season. A time when we plunk down lots of money for overpriced "on-sale" gifts, eat way too much food and sweets, drink more alcohol than Jack Daniel's and yes, do some stupid things. There are certain things that only should be attempted if you're a qualified professional. And there is only one professional I know who is qualified to go down a chimeny in a sing bound...Santa Claus. So why is it that at this time every year we read stories about people attempting to go down a chimney? What are they thinking? Often, maybe we have a worthy goal in mind, but try to reach it the wrong way. Of course, then we get stuck and wonder why we did such a stupid thing. What happens in today's blog offers a cautionary tale for burglars and an homage to the unblemished career of Kriss Kringle. Read on...

In Michigan, a teenager worried about coming in past curfew did his best Santa Claus and headed down the chimney. The 17-year-old boy was trying to sneak back into his room at the Judson Center social services agency Thursday night when he got stuck. A worker at the Center heard moaning and followed the noise to the chimney, authorities said. Firefighters and police officers had to pull him out. Police told The Detroit News the teen appeared only to have suffered scratches on his back. He was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Unfortunately, he didn't slide down quite as well as St. Nick.

In Hayward, California, a man who spent five hours naked and stuck in the chimney of his stepmother's home was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs. Michael Urbano, 23, locked himself out of the house early Saturday morning and decided to get in on a cable TV wire through the chimney. But the

wire broke and Urbano fell, getting stuck about three-quarters of the way down. He was freed when a firefighter pushed him to safety. "We get him up, and he's naked as a jaybird," said Hayward police Lt. Gary Branson. "He tells us he took his clothes off because there would be less friction going down the chute. We did find his clothes. So that part checked out." Police say it probably wasn't a comfortable few hours for Urbano. "He's not fat," Branson said, "but he used to play football. He's not that little. (Click To See Video)

In Australia, another teenager, after losing his keys, had to be rescued from the chimney of his inner-Melbourne home. With no other way into his Fitzroy home, the 17-year-old climbed down the chimney until reaching the flue shelf and finding he could not go up or down. Firefighters lowered a rope and pulled him to the roof. As much as he was black and sooty, he was just as red faced as can be with embarrassment. I can only imagine the kid must have been pretty thin to even contemplate getting down there."

A man became wedged in the chimney of an Italian family restaurant in Queens, New York, for almost three hours during a break-in, according to police and the owners. Police were called to Luigi's Italian Cuisine at 2:15am local time to rescue the man. Officers and firefighters broke through part of the chimney using jackhammers and drills, eventually dislodging him three hours later. Co-owner Josephine Napolitano said she and her husband had been up late on Thursday night watching a videotaped show of funny things caught on camera, including one about a burglar who had to be greased with butter to be freed from a chimney. "Not five minutes later, the police called us and said we're inside the restaurant, we've broken the locks, we have someone in your chimney," Mrs Napolitano said. "At first I was thinking, this is a joke, but no it wasn't." This burglar could have used some lessons from Santa Claus.

A 34-year-old man was treated for bruises and abrasions after being found naked and lodged in the furnace flue at Uncle Hugo's Bookstore. He was expected to be charged with attempted burglary on Friday. Don't worry, it wasn't Santa Claus. "He was lucky," said police Lt. Mike Sauro. "He was only stuck in that chimney for a few hours. It's kind of a happy ending, because if he had been in there until that store opened Friday morning, it's my judgment he would have died. Police suspect that the man was drunk when he climbed atop the one-story building and removed all his clothes to help squeeze into the chimney. He then started to slide down the 12-by-12-inch chimney shaft, Sauro said. "He's not Santa Claus," Sauro said. "He's a really skinny guy. And he's lucky he didn't get cooked." The man told police that he entered the chimney to retrieve keys he accidentally dropped down the shaft. He was charged with burglary and just being plain stupid. Lost your keys?

And finally, in Evansville, Indiana firefighters had to tear through a wall to rescue a man who became stuck while trying to enter a home through the chimney. Evidently he was drunk when he climbed down the chimney at 3:30 a.m. to see the woman he knew. "Everyone do stupid things sometimes when they're dunk," he said. At least this guy was drunk. In this state of altered thinking he truly believed he could get to where he wanted to go by going about it all wrong. We know better, don't we? Thinking like a woman here - perhaps there was a reason this guy did not have a key to the house and the woman did not leave the front door unlocked for him...Like, maybe, he wasn't a welcome guest in the first place!

Here's the bottom line on this. Don't get drunk. Don't be stupid. Don't get stuck in a chimney. It's pretty simple people. Some things are better left off to the professionals like Santa Claus. He's been doing it for hundreds of years and we've never had to suck his butt out of any ol' chimney. Get it? Got it? Good!