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Friday, October 16, 2009

The Great American Story That Wasn't

If a six year old boy is supposed to be high above the sky, lost for two hours in a homemade hot air balloon and is not found there but, instead, is sleeping in a cardboard box in his garage, is he still lost?

If all the news media follows a story for two hours about a six year old boy who is supposed to be lost high above the sky, traveling over 50 miles and two counties in Ft. Collins, CO, in a homemade hot air balloon and is not found there but, instead, is found sleeping in his garage, is it still news?

The answer to both questions, apparently, is 'yes'.

Even if, while waiting for the story to unfold, you interview scientists to tell you how cold it is at that level, as well as pediatric psychiatrists who inform us of the inner workings of the mind of a six year old.

And, you shut down the Denver International Airport, delaying air travel for hours while military officials follow the path of the wayward hot air balloon with its supposed tiny passenger who wasn't actually there.

I was "otherwise engaged," plowing the fields of the Lord, trying to do my part in "the church militant, here on earth, to usher in the Realm of God.

I guess I didn't miss anything, and yet, somehow, I feel I did.

I mean, the morning talk shows are all abuzz about it this morning. Still. The kid and his parents are being interviewed on television. Questions are being raised as to whether or not this was a hoax deliberately perpetrated by his parents for some attention.

There's got to be a story in here somewhere, dammit!

Well, we have celebrities like Paris Hilton and the Kardashian Girls who are famous for being famous. So, why not a story about a story that never happened?

The truth is that little kids do this all the time - they start playing, they get tired, they curl up in little nooks and crannies and fall asleep.

Because they can.

We went through this just a few weeks ago with our three-year old granddaughter. She didn't fall asleep, though. She just got excited about going to Day Care and left the house before anyone knew she was gone.

She was found walking down the street about 15 terrifying minutes later. When her scared-out-of-her-mind mother, tipped off by her older sister's bus driver, found her and called out to her, she turned around, smiled brightly, and said with great enthusiasm and innocence, "Oh hi, Mommy! I'm going to school! Wanna come?"

Paul Simon was right in 1986. He's still right.
These are the days of miracle and wonder,
This is the long distance call,
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all o-yeah,
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky,
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry baby don't cry
Don't cry


Lerewayah said...

My daughter, who is now almost 30, decided to go for a walk while Mommy and Daddy were unpacking boxes in our new Grover City CA home. Problem is, she was 18 months old and not able to let us know of her plans. Each parent thought Marie was in the room with the other. Nope. Frenzy, panic, worst-case-scenario thinking, then, lo and behold, Marie returned from her walk and started playing the backyard. Whew, and thanks be to God, but it was an hour or so of pure parental panic and dread.

Mary-Cauliflower said...

I sort of followed the progress of the story yesterday, as it unfolded during my office hours when I have to watch my email messages. (Students are often trying to make or cancel last-minute appointments.) I receive CNN news alerts, and my first thought (Godde forgive me) was, "That's not a news story, it's a '70's progressive rock ballad."

As I have mentioned elsewhere, I'm a deeply (deeply, deeply) flawed person.

Brother David said...

This was not only news in the USA.

The whole damn world was holding its communal breath at the perilous fate of this tiny child who safely slept away the whole ordeal.

For that brief time the borders all dropped and we were all once again just humans, not tribes or nationalities or gangs, just that vast sea of humanity hoping for the best for one of our own, and the family that must love him!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Really, Dahveed? I missed it all, but I sort of feel like Mary - it sounded more like a '70's progressive rock ballad. Or a modern cover of Paul Simon's Boy in the Bubble.

I, too, am a deeply flawed person.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

One of my best friends in college came from a family of five kids, grew up in Florissant, MO. It was a big deal to go to "the city" (St. Louis) from the suburbs and shop with five kids. They accidently left the toddler in Stix, Baer, and Fuller and got halfway home before the mom goes, "Where's Mary?"

As she wheeled the car around to high tail it back to the city, my friend says, "It wasn't so bad except for the fact my youngest brother was sobbing, "And we almost had her THREE YEARS!"

When they got back to the dept. store, there was little Mary, happily sitting on the customer service counter, with a lollipop.

Brother David said...

I am geekier than you Madre Lizabet! My email app speaks. So when I get a News update from a small list of world periodicals it tells me. I can hear it almost anywhere in my office or at home. At the same time in the upper right corner of my display an email plugin displays about the top three inches of the email, so I know who it is from the subject and the first few lines.

I have a Mac mini since last May to replace my '06 iMac. My display is a 24" LG LCD HDTV. So with the push of a button I can go from Mac desktop to CNN en EspaƱol, CNN Int'l, CNN US and BBC World all in HD.

They all were carrying the story live or breaking into programming for live feed updates and sending email updates throughout the ordeal.

Brother David said...

Now the local sheriff is saying that it was a hoax on the father's part.

Metella said...

When my daughter wa about 2, I put her down for a nap in her toddler bed and went off to read my email. After 15 minutes or so, I peeked in to check on her. No Natalie. 45 minutes of panicked searching throughout the house ensued, and into the yard even though every door was locked and I couldn't quite figure out how she might have locked herself out. I finally found her in the closet of the basement guestroom, in the middle of a pile of blankets.