Even a unique and special snowflake must obey the laws — of physics.

Have you ever been seized with a desire to lick a telephone pole in subzero weather, just to see if your tongue will really stick to it? No, we neither. But they walk among us. One of them, sixth-grader Maddie Gilmartin, now knows the answer.

She might do other foolish things in her life, but it’s a safe bet she’s never going to do that again.

[T]here was no dare involved. Maddie’s a kid who was just curious and learned the hard way.

Her parents hope other kids will realize the dangers and not make the same mistake their daughter made.

“It was just completely innocent,” Shawn said.

Maddie said her tongue now aches and feels like it was stung by a bee, but otherwise she’s doing fine.

via Lesson learned: Your tongue really will stick to a flagpole | New Hampshire Public Safety.

To us, the most amazing part of the story is that nobody was able to unstick the poor girl without calling the authorities. Police responded. Someone called a relative who worked in a hospital, and she in turn got a doctor’s opinion.

About 10-15 minutes into Maddie’s ordeal, her parents — with the encouragement of the cops and ER doc — poured hot water on the interface between the 98.6º girl and the -4º or so pole, and Maddie was freed. Taken to the ER, she learned she’s going to hurt for a while — and recover. She then went home.

She seems like a bright child, in case you needed any more proof that bright people can do dumb things. It still kind of amazes us that someone can live in New England and not know (1) not to touch bare flesh to bare metal, and (2) how to unstick the twain if you ignore (1).

Cold weather has probably killed more people that automatic weapons, in the long and tragic history of the human race. Every winter a few people neglect the most basic precautions, so removed we are from the necessities of survival; and they wind up as a tragic “froze to death mere feet from safety” story. The survival mantra is water, food, shelter, but in New Hampshire in January the elements will gun you down before dehydration even reaches for its gunbelt.

And yet, that environment, as inhospitable as it is, is readily survivable if you’re dressed and prepared remotely adequately. Survival begins in the mind.

This entry was posted in Don’t be THAT guy on by Hognose.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

7 thoughts on “She’s a Unique and Special Snowflake


If you thought that was a good New England stupid story, try this one on for size. Didn’t know about frostbite! No word if alcohol was involved.


Bill K

Let’s ban all flagpoles! Stupid flags – what good are they anyway? We’re smarter than that! (except when we aren’t)

Bill T

Well, The political climate as it is right now, we won’t be able to get a complete ban on flagpoles. Lets start with making anything over 12 feet illegal and we can come back later and make them shorter ’till they are less than 4 feet. by then no one will care if they have a flagpole and they will disappear all together. (We may have to exclude “Old, Highly decorated, Vets”. They are often armed and have a bad attitude over something like this.)


The survival mantra is safety, oxygen, shelter, water, food. Respectively 3 seconds, minutes, hours, days, and weeks, give or take.

But the surest thing in life is that they never teach any of this to the flannel PJs and hot cocoa crowd. (Or it lacks the requisite strength to penetrate their craniums, take your pick.)

I’m am undisguisedly astonished, sitting here in warm sunny California “winter” shorts and t-shirt weather, to learn that no one thereabouts had the wit to bring a mug of warm water on their own mental initiative without recourse to calling the authorities. One can only wonder how many cat skeletons they find in trees thereabouts as well.

Dean Weingarten

Hard to believe that people are so tied up with fear of action that they cannot handle a simple problem such as this without recourse to the “authorities”.


Gives old farm boys a tremendous advantage.

Hognose Post author

The WWII generation mostly grew up on farms. Today, a single-digit percentage of the population grows up on farms.