Saving Private Liam


Liam Struck, Reporter

Up to 5% of the US general population suffers from claustrophobia in some form, including mild versions of this phobia. I was not one of them, but all that changed Saturday, January 12th 2019. The lights were dim, the music was loud and the atmosphere was carefree. I was surrounded by friends, laughter and fun, the time was 9:00PM. Two hours later I would be praying to a God that I’m not sure I believe in to rescue me from the torments that I was sure rivaled hell. I, Liam Charles Struck, was stuck in a washing machine.

Before I go into the details, let me address the one thing that was racing rapidly through my mind before I got into that death trap. Nothing, I wasn’t thinking about anything. I assumed it would get a few laughs then I would get right out. Many questions I get are about what I was thinking or why would I even get in there in the first place, it was an impulsive decision and is irrelevant to the story, experience and end.

The 5 minute mark: I was surrounded by high schoolers, some were close friends others were friendly faces. Every single person had one thing in common, they were laughing at the kid in the washing machine. Even I found it funny until I began to realize that I really couldn’t get out.

10 minutes: The amount of people crowded into the washing room continues to grow. Rescue efforts have been attempted but none successful. I grow more and more concerned.

30 minutes: My back is starting to ache, every attempt to get me out only furthers the pain more. I am caught on the inside of the washer, and every time they try to yank me out, my back scrapes along the steel metal frames. My knees are worse than my back, they feel on fire. I can’t move my feet anymore, there’s no room. It feels like the washer is shrinking.

One hour: I’m at a 90 degree angle, still in the washer. The chemical detergent is pouring out of the sides onto me and my clothes. I begin to feel a burning sensation in my arms but that’s the least of my worries. It’s been one hour and I am STILL in a washing machine. I begin to contemplate what my new life would consist of. I would be part washing machine, being spoon fed every meal time. My family would have visiting time but it would never be enough. I would be lonely with only the comfort of clothes around me. I was getting desperate. That’s when I yelled for the better.

1 Hr and a half: The butter didn’t help but made a bigger mess. My shirt was off by this point and I was covered head to toe in butter. I really thought this would be the solution but it was not. Others around me begin to talk about bringing the fire department in to break me out, but what would they do? Hose me out? Take an axe to the washing machine and cut off my leg in the process? I believed in my friends to get me out and more than that I begin to believe in myself.

2 Hour mark. My back is bleeding and my knees are bruised, but I’m ready. I’ve spent two hours in this washing machine; it was time to conquer this monster. To slay the washer. I gritted my teeth, clenched my muscles and swallowed what was left of my pride. I roared a battle cry as Japannah tipped over the washing machine completely, grabbed me by my arms and pulled and pulled until I was out. This probably took three minutes but felt like three hours in a pit full of hot coal. But then, just as I was about to scream for him to stop, some of my back skin ripped off, my knees cracked and buckled but then I was out! I was out! I was out! Oh I was rejoiced, my mood went from sad and depressed to joyous almost immediately. The second I was out I completely forgot what I had faced momentarily and was engulfed in a sense of euphoria. I couldn’t feel my back or my knees. I couldn’t feel anything except a sense of happiness I had never felt before. Thank you for all those who suffered with me, and to those brave souls who got me out.