Story # 2: The Jaws of Life

Since I shared the story of Mats and the rum smuggler, it is only fair that I share one of Maks’ stories. Alas, his story has nothing to do with under-aged children smuggling alcoholic beverages into school during lunch. But he does have the Jaws of Life, so his story is just as interesting.

Maks’ class shares its classroom with another class. So for part of the day, they are in one room and for the other part of the day, they are in the other room. They have their desks and such but everything is shared; tables, chairs, books, you get the idea. Anything personal is kept with the kids but everything else is fair game. One room has been bag chairs for the kids to sit on and the other room has proper little plastic desk chairs.

This story starts with the proper little plastic desk chairs. The chairs are what you would expect them to be. They are hard plastic with a rigid back and a small square hole cut out of the back of them. I assume the hole in the back is for air flow given that plastic isn’t very breathable but it could just be the design of the chairs.

For the most part, the kids like the bean bag chairs the best. And really, who wouldn’t? They are squishy and fun to sit on. But there is this one little girl in Maks’ class that prefers the proper little plastic desk chairs. She doesn’t like them because they are more comfortable or easier to sit in, she likes them better because she can show off her athletic prowess in them. She likes to contort her body and squeeze herself through one side of the chair and then pull herself out the other. Given how small the hole is, it is a pretty neat trick to see.

Until the trick stops working.

One lunch break, S decides she is going to squeeze herself through the chair and amaze her classmates once more. So she lies on her tummy and pushes her legs through the hole in the back of the chair. She makes it halfway and realizes that she is stuck. She can’t get the rest of her body to go through the way it normally goes through. She wiggles and she squeezes but nothing happens. She is good and stuck. Then she does what any eight year old who is stuck in a chair would do, she calls out to her friends for help. They try to push her through, they try to pull her out, they take off her sweater and help her wiggle but she is not going anywhere. So they have to call the teacher over. The teacher tries to lift the chair off of S. She tries to pull her out or push her through but she is just not moving so she calls in adult reinforcements, in the form of the custodian.

The custodian comes in and works with the teacher to try and dislodge the child from the chair. They try wiggling her, pushing her, pulling her but she is good and stuck and they call in more adult reinforcements, in the form of the admin staff from the front office. Now the room is it a buzz with activity; it is full of adults who are standing looking bewildered at a child stuck halfway through a chair, the child in the chair is bawling and terrified because she can’t get out and the other kids are all standing around shouting encouragement and trying to help. In other words, it’s chaos.

The office staff decided to take a different route from what the other adults had done so far, they know that there is only so much that they can do and they go off to call the child’s parents and the fire department. They need her parents to come in and give the fire department permission to assist in this very odd situation. S’s dad comes in just as the fire department is pulling up. He walks into the room to find S halfway through a chair, crying and very scared. He finds a flabbergasted teacher and custodian trying to figure what to do and an office staff asking that he sign a bunch of papers. The firemen just stand there for now because there is nothing else they can do. The teacher ushers the rest of the class out of the room so things aren’t as chaotic but that doesn’t really stop them. They crowd around the window in the other room to watch.

Right after S’s dad signs the papers from the office, the firemen all converge on S. They give her a teddy to hold and they try to get her out of the chair. When it is confirmed she is really stuck, they break out really big bolt cutters and she freaks out. There are now firemen coming after her with giant tools. Her dad has to calm her down and keep her still while the firemen cut her out of the chair. The firemen cut the chair in half, freeing S after being stuck in the chair for two hours and her dad takes her home.

I doubt she will ever be trying that trick again.

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