So you’ve probably all heard about the balloon boy, even if you watch as little TV news as I do (zero, that is). Yesterday, Falcon Heene, a six-year-old boy in Fort Collins, Colorado, went missing. His family reported that he had apparently floated away with an enormous helium balloon that they kept tethered next to their home. A massive search-and-rescue effort was mounted before Falcon was found a few hours later, hiding out in the rafters of the family’s garage.
I know that plenty of people would question the wisdom of keeping something akin to a weather balloon in a place where a kid could get to it, and I do wonder, too. It’s not so different from having a swimming pool, which also requires increased vigilance from parents. But I’m not quick to condemn on this score. After all, lots of parents have swimming pools, and virtually all parents of six-year-olds let them out of sight on a regular basis.
The media are now questioning whether the whole incident was a hoax, intended to gain publicity for a couple who’ve already done reality TV, appearing on Wife Swap. Here, too, I’m inclined to be agnostic unless more damning evidence comes out.
So why do I think Falcon has lousy parents? This:
If your child starts to vomit on national TV, you stop the interview! You do not carry on! At the absolute minimum, one parent takes the child off the set while the other continues.
And if you’re not a media pig, maybe you don’t put your kid on TV in the first place. Especially when he’s surely been traumatized.
Update 10-16-09, 6:30 p.m.: In comments, erniebufflo fills in the details and gives an all-too-persuasive interpretation:
The poor kid was on two different morning shows today, puked on the first, and then went on to puke on the second. So not only did they go through the first interview, they made the kid do another, KNOWING he was very sick. Which is obviously why they had the puke-receptacle at the ready, because they knew it was going to happen. But this is a dad who made a rap video in which the kids decry “pussification” which includes, to him, time-outs and using toilets. And this is a dad who called TV stations before he called 9/11. And this is a dad who created a “bitch o meter” for a “nagging” wife he was paired with on Wife Swap, who thanked God his wife is from Japan, I guess because he feels Japanese women are more properly subservient. And this is a dad there is video tape of launching the balloon HIMSELF, video which makes it clear that the boy could have never been inside. Bonus? He throws a little hissy fit in the video because his wife accidentally let go of the balloon’s tether.
My theory? The balloon got away, and post hissy fit, he knows that there’s going to at least be some fuss over the UFO he’s just released, so he calls the news channels and claims his kid is inside, to at least use the publicity to his own benefit rather than being the guy who freaked some people out with the big balloon, so he can be the poor storm chasing dad instead. This guy sucks at everything.
Uff da. I got a bad vibe from the father, and now I guess I know why. Pussification? Geez, I’d hide in the rafters, too.
Update 10-18-09, 11:30 a.m.: Here’s the “pussification” video. I can’t understand half of the lyrics, but what I do understand just makes me sad. Heaven help these boys if they ever need to cry.