Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Moments with Joey - The Tongue Dilemma

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SCENE 1, EXTERIOR. MORNING, PLAYGROUND. A few slivers of snow fall from the grey morning skies as a fifth grade teacher makes his way outside for before-school duty. The online thermometer he’d read earlier that morning had a reading of fourteen degrees. A few of the teacher’s students wander over from time to time to talk. One of the girls, Becky, excitedly approaches.

BECKY: Mr. Z, I just stuck my finger on the pole over there and a bit of the skin came off!

[The teacher glances over to the four, four-foot poles around the fire hydrant where a young boy is milling about].

TEACHER: Now that was pretty smart now wasn’t it?

BECKY: [Giggling]. Probably not.

TEACHER: You know what, Becky? You should have stuck your tongue to the pole…now THAT would have been REALLY smart.

[Becky laughs and walks back toward the poles as the teacher is asked a question by another student. A few moments later, Becky comes running back to the teacher, her voice full of frantic concern].

BECKY: Mr. Z! Mr. Z! Joey’s stuck to the pole!

[The teacher, thinking that a joke is being played on him, turns slowly with a doubtful expression].

TEACHER: Oh, really? Is he now?

BECKY: No, seriously…look!

[The teacher gazes in the direction the girl is pointing and sees Joey with his tongue attached to the blue pole. The teacher bolts over to where the boy is flailing is arms and trying to communicate].

TEACHER: [Directed to the closest kid]. Ryan, get to the nearest teacher’s classroom and get a glass of the hottest water you can! GO! NOW!

[The boy breaks into a run towards the school, along with two or three other students following along in his wake. The teacher turns his attention back to the boy who is trying to talk. A shudder passes though the teacher’s spine as visions of A Christmas Story fly through his head. It’s just all so surreal; even watching the movie cannot have prepared him for this particular moment].

RANDOM STUDENT: [Approaching with a group]. Hey, Mr. Z, what’s going on?

TEACHER: Nothing, now get over there, now!

[The teacher points to the other end of the playground. The student and the four or five members of his entourage slowly move away, still trying to catch a glimpse of the tongue-tied boy].

TEACHER: Joey, just why in the world would you stick your tongue on the pole?

JOEY: Youh thold meh tooh, Misthur Zeh.

TEACHER: What do you mean, I told you to?

JOEY: I huhrd youh thell Bekhee thut iht’s thmart thoo puth yoh thung onth thuh phool.

TEACHER: Joey, I was joking. Doing something like this doesn’t make you cool.

[The boy now has a long sliver of drool hanging down from his bottom lip. His tongue is sticking out a bit farther as he continues trying to communicate with the teacher].

JOEY: Ayh haff thoo goh thoo thuh bahthroon.

TEACHER: You’ve got to be kidding me.

[Several more students who approach are instantly sent away by the teacher, who realizes that the last thing the boy needs is a crowd watching him in this particular dilemma. Instead though, a crowd is forming about thirty feet away carrying on with whispered conversations and pointings, like a herd of gazelles stopping to watch as one of their members is ripped apart by a lion in the Serengeti].

TEACHER: Joey, Joey, Joey…what am I going to do with you?

[The teacher holds the boy’s face firmly in one position so that the end of his tongue doesn’t rip off. The drool trail is nearing ground level at this point and is starting to freeze in midair. A lower section of it catches on the pole and becomes instantly frozen into place. The teacher wipes the dribble from the boy’s lip and starts to talk to him so that he doesn’t freak out].

TEACHER: Don’t worry, Joey, everything’s going to be all right. Just keep your head close to the pole and we’ll get you out of this, okay?

JOEY: Ihm thuck.

TEACHER: Yeah, you can say that again.

[After another minute or two, the boy finally realizes the full extent of the predicament he's in and starts to cry a little; the teacher keeps trying to console him. *Lucky Lookies on the distant sidelines keep trying to catch a glimpse of the dilemma taking place. The teacher wonders if he should leave the boy and go for the water himself. He changes his mind several times.

A few moments later, Ryan comes hurrying out of the school with a large cup of steaming water. The boy gives it to the teacher who pours it over the pole. Joey pulls at his tongue, stretching it out and snapping it free of the pole’s icy grip. The teacher shudders again as he imagines a ripping sound as the boy’s tongue whips back into his mouth. The teacher puts his arm around the boy's shoulder and leads him into the school past troves of onlookers. The boy is told to head for the office and the bathroom].

SCENE 2, EXTERIOR. AFTERNOON. PLAYGROUND. The teacher heads out for after-school duty in the same spot. As he arrives, he notices the Joey looking around the pole he was attached to earlier that morning.

TEACHER: Joey, what in the world are you doing?

JOEY: I was just seeing if I could find the piece of my tongue that came off this morning.

TEACHER: A piece of your tongue?

JOEY: Yeah, the end of my tongue came off and I was just seeing if it was still attached to pole. [Pause]. I wanted to keep it.

TEACHER: Okay, now that's just gross.

JOEY: And cool, too...

TEACHER: Well, I'm glad to know that no brain cells were lost.

JOEY: Nope, just my tongue.

[The teacher shakes his head and walks away].

[Fade to black].

*Lucky Lookies: Those people who, at the scene of an accident, slow and stare hoping to catch a glimpse of something terrible.

And, for your enjoyment:


Sarah C said...

I found your blog a while back, and LOVE your Joey posts. I worked with elementary school-aged children for 4.5 years during university, so I can relate to how hilarious and amazing kids are!

As a kid, I once got my tongue stuck to a really icy (so probably old...) fudgicle. No kidding. My friend's dad had to rip if off my tongue. There was definitely bleeding. Poor Joey...

Karen Peterson said...

I grew up in a place that doesn't have winter. I always thought the tongue-stuck-to-the-flagpole was a joke.

Oilfield Trash said...

That is an awesome story.

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

Boy, Joey is easy. You didn't even have to triple-dog dare him!

This might be the favorite Joey story of 2011.

Crustacean Queen said...

Every year around Christmas time I hear of someone doing this! It's probably the kids who watch that show and thinks it's a joke.

My son got his lip stuck to an ice cube a few weeks ago, So I threw a cup full of water on his face...What? I was helping him!

Mamma has spoken said...

Poor Joey, I think the reason he didn't loose any brain cells on the pole is because he doesn't have that many.....

Linn said...

Seriously, seriously?! If you grew up watching A Christmas Story, you really couldn't bring yourself to try it. Kids these days need to watch more of that movie, it appears.

mintifresh said...

Give the kid a break-he needed some kind of souvenir from his experience. I mean, I'm sure he doesn't even have a blog to document it on!

MBGITWWR said...

Oh my Heavens! What a day, huh? Sometimes I wish I had become a teacher.... and then I hear stories like this and I'm so glad I didn't. :) It sounds like you handled it beautifully though. I might have freaked out if I had been the teacher on duty. Good work, Mr. Z.

wendy said...

Oh my gosh...Me---mor---ies.
I am from the Great White North after all, been there done that.
YUP.....and I am still wondering if "brain cells" actually might have been lost.

I remember walking on snow soooooo cold it CRUNCHES louder then Captain crunch himself. when I went to school, girls were not allowed to wear pants...only dresses and skirts.
so in Jr. High and High school it was NOT COOL to wear snow pants and take them off/stash them in your locker.
NOPE...better to arrive with frozen appendages that were beet red.

gotta love the cold

T said...

oh joey, joey, joey...


Joan said...

I just love that you get to take the kids outside when it is cold. We aren't allowed to go out if the temp or wind chill is below 32 degrees.

Love, love, love Joey!

Today's Gift said...

Poor Joey! But I did laugh pretty hard while reading this post.

tammy said...

I always wondered if that could really happen. Poor Joey. I am laughing about him wanting to save the piece of tongue though...only boys...

Rachel said...

You have GOT to be kidding me! He DIDN'T!!!!

Connie said...

Has he never seen Christmas Story? It's good you sent the Lucky Lookies away AND that you were the one on outside duty!

Poor Joey!

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

Every year someone has to try it. Think of it as a live science experiment. Teaching above and beyond the lesson plan!

Cheeseboy said...

This is so funny. This has already happened to our first graders twice this year. The first girl had to get stitches because she ripped her tongue off rather than wait for the water.

Chris Phillips said...

you don't really want hot water do you, just room temp?

Nuttley said...

You mean that isn't a rite of childhood?

Just call me Joey.

Just SO said...

Yikes! And yet it made me smile. I'm glad it was just a small piece. Did he ever find it?

Mr. Hughes said...

This brings back horrible memories of my brother getting me to stick my tongue to the chimes on my parents porch. Same idea, but I was on my tippy-toes and no one was helping me for the first while.

Man he was mean. I guess I could copy cat you and do posts about my brother growing up- I am glad I survived!

Thanks for the laugh.

Make Do and Mend said...

"You'll shoot yer eye out, kid."

In fact, that's what my grandma calls the movie.

It had to happen. Just think of it as an introductory science lesson.

Word Verification: inglogir

Which I'm choosing to think of as a descriptive way of saying: that thread of spit you have hanging from your mouth after you stupidly lick a metal pole in fourteen degree weather.

Jenny said...

LOL.... My tongue feels funny just reading about it. I get the same way when I watch a Christmas story.

Yaya' s Home said...

I've seen way too many kids who think that ignoring the dare is more important than keepin' the tips of their tongues. An' no, I was not the one to dare 'em. Too often, I was the dar-eee. Ouch! Fortunately, I finally learned my lesson an' quit takin' the dare.

~ Yaya

M-Cat said...

Only Joey. Only JOey......

Shannon said...

This is what you get for going outside in such cold weather...imminent disaster, I tell you!

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