In a real-life version of the classic scene from A Christmas Story, an Illinois boy got his tongue stuck on a frozen pole — just as the character Flick does in the movie.
Spencer Cline, 11, says he had recently watched the 1983 film and wanted to try Flick’s stunt for himself. So, last Tuesday, while sledding near his Sandwich, Illinois, home after one of the region’s heaviest-ever snowfalls, Cline decided to find out if a person’s tongue would really stick to a chilly metal pole.
He quickly learned that it would.
“Since I’ve seen the movie I was kind of tempted to lick the pole,” the sixth-grader tells PEOPLE. “I never thought it worked that way.”
He knew instantly that the stunt had gone awry. “I tried to pull it back,” he says. “It just stuck on there.”
He tried about more 10 times to yank his tongue from the fence pole to no avail. However, he managed to convey his predicament to his friend, 12-year-old Cole Leeper, who had been standing nearby and quickly ran to get help.
“I went to the nearest house. I said I need hot water,” Leeper says, noting that the woman couldn’t provide any. “I said, ‘Well can you call 911?’ “
Cline says his tongue was stuck for about six minutes and, just as emergency responders were arriving, he tried once more to free his tongue.
“It finally peeled off,” he tells PEOPLE, adding that it wasn’t pretty.
“I’m pretty sure some of my taste buds are still on the pole,” he says, adding that his mouth was filled with blood. He didn’t require a trip to the hospital, however, and went home for a pizza dinner with his family — though his tongue was still tender.
“It kind of burned a little bit from the sauce,” he recalls.
Spencer says the icy experiment was his own idea, a noted departure from the movie, in which Flick famously performs the feat after a “triple-dog dare” by a schoolmate.
In a coincidental twist, the actor who portrayed Flick, Scott Schwartz, will be visiting a nearby movie theater this week to meet with fans. Spencer’s dad, T.J. Cline, says he and his son will try to attend the event.
In the meantime, he says he’s reiterating to Spencer some of his words of wisdom.
“I’ve told him in the past, ‘If you’re going to be dumb, you’ve got to be tough,’ ” Cline says.
Spencer says he’s learned his lesson and advises fellow fans of the movie to not indulge their curiosity.
“I’m not ever going to do that again,” he says. “You think that would be fun, but it’s not.”