A Royal Navy pilot became the permanent poster boy for remedial physical training Sunday when a drinking game went terribly wrong, leaving the too-hefty officer physically lodged in a precarious position for nearly six hours.
Lt. Tommy Brownlee, 26, had just enjoyed the festivities of an annual mess night at Royal Navy Air Station Yeovilton near Somerset, England, when he and a few other brass decided the night was yet young, and a drinking game was in order.
The officers chose a contest known as the Chimney Challenge, an inebriation-produced obstacle course that, if completed, awards the champion an ever-coveted prize of more drinks, according to The Sun.
Believing himself to be Chimney Challenge worthy, Brownlee stepped up in “I am Spartacus” level solidarity with his fellow drunks.
To complete his well-oiled itinerary, Brownlee would have to enter one section of the building’s two-chimney system, shimmy his way up a narrow column toward one of the system’s vents, crawl his way across a roof space to the other chimney, then carefully slide down that column head-first.
“Apparently it’s an annual initiation the officers do where they climb up one chimney and down another into the bar," one source confirmed in a message to the popular British military humor Facebook page, Fill Your Boots UK.
The officer accomplished the first sections of the challenge with the grace of an Olympian gymnast.
Entering the home stretch, an upside-down Brownlee could peer down and see remnants of light from the officers’ mess and hear the joyous cheers of the comrades who would soon celebrate his Herculean feat.
Only, he never made it.
Nearing the finish line, Brownlee became jammed in a thin section of the brick and soon realized he was unable to pry himself from the jaws of humiliation.
“There had been much whooping and hollering from impressed mates, but after a while it all went a bit quiet," one source told The Sun. “Eventually people realised he was stuck” in one of the chimney sections that are approximately two feet wide.
“Tommy only found this out the hard way," the source told the Sun. “He’s not as thin as he thinks.”
Fortunately for Brownlee, a dozen fire rescue personnel arrived soon after and quickly got to work smashing away a portion of the chimney to set the failed Santa Claus free.
A happy ending, except a severely intoxicated human being’s constitution is seldom suited for such confinement, especially upside-down.
“After so much booze, he felt very worse for wear stuck upside-down for more than six hours," the source told the Sun. “It was hysterical for everyone but him, although he saw the funny side later.”
The additional source writing the Facebook page went into even more detail.
“The guy got stuck and ended up pissing and puking all over himself," of which the vomiting portion should be considered an achievement due to the physics of his position.
Given Brownlee’s role as a pilot, one can only hope his unit capitalizes on the golden opportunity to bring entirely new meaning to Tom Cruise’s “Because I was inverted” line from “Top Gun.”
In the end, a grinning Brownlee was wheeled away by rescue personnel, a moment shared to the FYB UK Facebook page.
“Tommy won’t live this one down in a hurry.”