The best laid plans often go awry. The worst too; like diving down a real chimney as if you were Santa. It's almost definitely bound to go wrong. Don't believe me? Take the following stories as warning.
There is an urban legend about a man whose attempt to surprise his family dressed as Santa coming down the chimney. His plan is fatally foiled when he gets stuck in the chimney, and is ironically asphyxiated by the fumes of the family's fire. Snopes says that story is almost definitely not true. But here are a few that are. Most of the people were rescued, and suffered minimal injuries or charges. Others were not so lucky. But let this be a lesson that St. Nick, a Mary Poppins' sidekick, and other people who do not actually exist are the only people who should ever try to slide down a chimney.
Earlier this year, a Los Angeles-area woman got stuck in the chimney of the building of a man she had met online. Firefighters had to take the chimney apart with a jack hammer and lube it up with soap to get her out. She was promptly arrested once sprung free.
Just last week, fire fighters in Scottsdale, Arizona responded to a call from a 13-year-old boy who got himself wedged in the chimney of his parents house. He had tied an extension cord around himself before he went down, but that didn't save him from getting stuck, although the firemen did. Teens!
A must-read is this first-person account from a London man who fell down a chimney at a party. He lived to tell his tale. Here is a sampling: "I'm quite a proud man, and I didn't want to admit I was stuck in the chimney and spoil the party. But there's only so long you can maintain a weird hand puppet show." Fortunately, he lived to tell the tale.
Jilted lovers trying to break into the home of their former flames via chimney is a recurring theme. In 2010, a Bakersfield, California woman was found dead in the chimney of a man who had recently broken up with her.
In May, another California man had to be removed from the chimney of his ex-girlfriend's house, which he was trying to use as an entryway in lieu of the door. No criminal charges were filed and it is unclear the status of his relationship.
Then there's the story of the guy in Australia who was discovered in the chimney of the steakhouse he was trying to rob. He was also freed thanks to a jackhammer and some friendly outback fire fighters.
So if you ever should find yourself tempted to dive down a chimney. Just don't. You will get stuck and you may well become immortalized in some blog somewhere. And no one wants that! No one.
Image credit: AntiMartina/Shutterstock