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Ill. fire dept. responds after boy’s tongue becomes stuck on frozen pole

Spencer Cline, 11, said he was inspired by the scene in “A Christmas Story,” in which a boy is dared to put his tongue on a frozen pole

By Megan Jones
The Beacon-News

SANDWICH, Ill. — An 11-year-old Sandwich boy learned the hard way that, yes, your tongue will stick to a frozen metal pole.

Spencer Cline and his 12-year-old friend Cole Leeper headed to a sled hill around 5 p.m. near their home Tuesday, wanting to enjoy the snow from the recent record-setting storm. After sledding, the boys came across a pole along a fence.

What happened next mirrored the infamous scene from the popular film “A Christmas Story” in which a boy is dared to put his tongue on a frozen pole, and it sticks.

In Spencer’s case, there was no dare. He has seen the movie, but he didn’t think his tongue would actually stick, he said. “I was just tempted to. I’ve seen the movie ‘A Christmas Story,’ which kind of inspired me.”

He approached the pole and asked Cole if he thought it would actually stick. Then Spencer went ahead and did it. His tongue froze to the pole immediately. Surprise, then fear kicked in.

“Cole thought at first I was messing with him,” Spencer said. “I told him no, it’s really stuck, but he at first couldn’t understand what I was saying.”

Cole, as any friend would, ran to the nearest house and asked a woman if she had hot water for his friend’s tongue.

“She said she didn’t have any hot water, and I said, ‘Well, you’re going to have to call an ambulance then,’” Cole said.

Spencer was able to pull his tongue off by the time Sandwich emergency medical service crews arrived. He estimated he was stuck for about seven minutes.

“I was trying to get it off, but I wasn’t pulling,” Spencer said. “I was being gentle and freaking out. Some of my taste buds came off onto the pole.”

Sandwich Deputy Fire Chief Nathan King said the department had never responded to a call like that before.

“Every crew member there was reminded of the movie and laughed at that scene,” King said.

King said if Spencer’s tongue was still stuck, crews would have placed a hot pack on the pole to try and warm up the area and use lukewarm water to remove it.

Spencer’s father, TJ Cline, said he was on his way home from work when he got a call from Spencer saying he was in an ambulance, but he was fine.

“Of course being a parent, you automatically assume the worst, so I was flying to get to where he was,” Cline said. “I wasn’t sure if he had fallen or bit his tongue.”

Spencer was treated and released that night. His tongue is expected to recover fully.

In the end, Spencer, who attends Sandwich Middle School, said he learned his lesson and he hopes no other kid tries the same stunt.

“It hurt very badly,” Spencer said. “I kind of felt like I was missing half of my tongue. Everyone heard at school and I keep saying, ‘I’m just like the kid from the Christmas movie.’”

Copyright 2018 The Beacon-News