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Opening Arguments

Dog dares of winter

Life imitates art, which surely imitated life:

Remember what happened to Flick?

In the 1983 film "A Christmas Story," based in the 1940s, Flick, a friend of the young protagonist, Ralphie, gets his tongue stuck to a flag pole when he tries tasting the frozen metal. 

Who would DO that?  Well, apparently, Flick is not alone.  

In Hammond, Ind., police were called to the scene of a similar crisis Tuesday night. A 10-year-old boy got his tongue stuck on a frozen street light.

The implication is that if the kid had just watched the movie, he would have known not to do this, which is just dumb. As the story notes, this kid was dared to do it, just as Flick was in the movie. And Flick had been told horror stories about people getting their tongues stuck. He just didn't believe them -- or, rather, living up to the code of the dare was more important.

And the coverage of the Hammond kid misses the whole point of the Flick incident, which was to explain that dare code. There is "dare," which is to be followed by "double dog dare," then "triple dare," then "triple dog dare." The darer in the movie goes right from "double dog dare" to "triple dog dare." Ralphie, the narrator, calls that a "slight breach of etiquette, but that's just typical Hoosier understatement. People who skip "triple dare" usually wind up in prison or in Washington.

Posted in: Film, Hoosier lore