ONE SPUDNIK'S decision to clog his apartment's toilet with potatoes to grab the attention of the building's maintenance department ended with mashed results, according to Upper Darby police.

This potatoes-au-rotten story began about 8 a.m. Saturday, when Ralph Curry, 43, of the Oakwood Apartments on West Chester Pike near Cloverdale Avenue, couldn't get in touch with building maintenance, said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.

It's unknown what issue he believed needed immediate attention, but Curry's inability to contact someone left him hot under the collar, so he decided that starch was the way to go, Chitwood said.

"He says to himself, 'Self, I'm going to clog up the toilet with potatoes and have that overflow and I'll call maintenance again,' " Chitwood said of Curry.

Cops didn't know how many potatoes Curry shoved into his loo - but whether it was one potato, two potatoes, three potatoes or a latke, it did the trick and caused the toilet to overflow, Chitwood said.

When maintenance still didn't respond to Curry's calls, Chitwood said, Curry walked to a fire alarm in the second-floor hallway and pulled it. That caused 12 families in other units to drop whatever they were doing like a hot potato and run outside in the cold for 30 minutes on a day when the high temperature was 28 degrees.

The episode may insert a potato wedge between Curry and some of his neighbors.

To police, it was anything but small potatoes. They charged Curry with false alarms to agencies of public safety, recklessly endangering another person and disorderly conduct.

"That's a first, using potatoes to clog a toilet," said Chitwood, a veteran lawman who has had his share of home fries.