The 4-1-1 on 9-1-1

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And there are always those metaphysical emergencies: "If I start losing my memory, how will I know?"

Sucking on the Slurpee Machine

911 operators are sworn to keep a straight face and take all calls seriously, even when someone says, "Yeah, there's a moose running around out here with an Easter basket stuck around his neck."

Really, almost anything can happen. To save a choking potbellied pig, a 911 operator had to talk a caller through "mouth-to-snout" resuscitation. Luckily, the operator was also a veterinarian.

If you're looking for one of those "only in America" moments, how about this call: "Yes, this is the 7-Eleven, I want to report some juveniles sucking on the Slurpee machine."

To puritanical Americans, the mere hint of sex might seem like an emergency. Folks have called 911 to complain that their neighbor's bed is "squeaking too damn loud." And another caller complained, "There is a snow sculpture outside my apartment [with] gross exaggeration of certain male parts we all find obscene."

Free Willy … From the Pool Vacuum

Other Americans encounter 911 with their pants down and their dignity flapping in the breeze.

One unfortunate fellow got stuck in the swimming pool while seeking sexual pleasure from the vacuum intake line. That suction turned out to be a little too strong.

A security guard called 911 laughing hysterically, telling the dispatcher: "He's got his privates stuck in the pump line … He's been in there for three hours … It's got to be shriveled up like hell."

The dispatcher says: "You're the night clerk. You can't keep laughing."

Gregory calls this passage "Free Willy."

Of course, 911 gets a good deal of crank calls. In Port Charles, Fla., Ron Vanname called 911 from a telephone booth nine times in a 16-minute period and said some unrepeatable things. He eventually got arrested for making obscene phone calls.

"Calling 911 is free," Gregory says. "This guy was compulsive and cheap, not to mention a fast-fingered dialer."