One night at a party following a successful flight a young pilot, also a student of medicine, talked about how imperfect ly constructed is the human jaw. "For example,", he said," if you were to insert a relatively large object in your mouth, like say, an ordinary 60 Watt lightbulb, you would not be able to take it out again." Everyone laughed at this joke and the drinking continued.
But when the party was over and everyone had gone their separate ways, one unfortunate remembered the lightbulb story and said to himself, "That can't be true, if it can go in, it has to be able to come out again. It can't be dependent upon direction." And without delay he stood on his toilet bowl and remove the lightbulb above. At first he couldn't get it into his mouth, but after some struggle and effort in slipped in, perfectly filling his oral cavity. But he couldn't get it back out again! What to do now? He tried desperately with all his might to get the bulb back out.
About an hour later his roommate returned froma different party and was confronted with a strange sight. His friend sitting desperate in the bed, tears in his eyes and something that looked like the end of a lightbulb sticking out of his mouth.
"What's going on here?", he asked.
Instead of an answer he received only a sort of mumbling. Following a dialogue of hand gestures, he pulled out a pad and pencil and wrote out his tight situation. The posssibility of breaking the bulb was ruled out right off as too dangerous, the shards could be life threatening. The best solution was to go to the emergency surgery ward at the hospital.
So they set out by public transport to the hospital. Even though it was already late at night, the tram was full of people. Apparently is was a big night for celebrations. Our patient alternatingly tried covering his mouth with his hand and giving embarrassed looks back at the people staring at the bulb sticking partially out of his mouth.
The doctor at the hospital examined the bulb in greater disbelief than the tram passengers. As he was a fresh graduate, he called in his colleague, an experienced surgeon. The surgeon stated that throughout his career had not seen a case like this, but that he works with jaws all the time and that it would be painful. The unfortunate nodded in assent and so the surgeon pressed and pulled at the right places, dislocated the jaw, removed the unbroken bulb and re-set the jaw. In order for the patient's tendons to heal properly, the surgeon bound up his chin with a bandage.
By then it was too late to take public transport home, so the two friends treated themselves to a taxi ride, happy that the problem had been resolved. The talkative driver started a conversation with them right off and wanted to know what had happened to the guy with the bandaged head this late at night. They told him the whole story. The cab driver looked over the lightbulb they handed him as evidence.
"But that's not possible!, if it goes in it has to come out!"
The two friends didn't even have a chance to blink before the driver had stuck the bulb into his mouth. He pulled the cab over to the curb, and after several futile attempts at removing the bulb, he begged the two friends to take him to the jaw expert. Everyone can surely imagine the expression on the surgeon's face ...!