Friday, October 16, 2009

This Week in Balloonery

In the roughly 14 minutes a day when I’m not either bloggerizing, canning peaches, discussing Sartre, or prank-calling the assholes from the Chiquita company volleyball team (just kiddin’, those calls totally weren’t from me! Love you guys!), it’s a pretty safe bet that you can find me trolling the internerds for all things balloon-related. Balloonery is always pretty widely covered by bloggers and the Jew-run media alike, and deservedly so, for what other adventure sport gets the pulse pounding like a balloon ride? This is what has kept balloonism at the forefront of the American imagination for centuries, while things like revolutions, powdered wigs, the Cola Wars, and Bayrock Alabama (or whatever that guy’s name was) have all fallen by the wayside like the passing fads they were.

Needless to say, I was caught entirely by surprise yesterday to see the entire nation hold its collective breath while a child hid in his parents’ garage. It wasn’t until much, much later, when I read the story on (my fave site on the planet! xoxoxo!) that it started to make sense why this story had captured the hearts and medullae oblongatae of everyone you know and I know combined, including the oh-so-lickable Diana Ross: They thought Falcon Heene was in a balloon!

No wonder the story got three hours of airtime on CNN!

Of course, what the Falcon Heene incident highlights (other than the obviously impending grounding of that adorbzable little trickster) is the compelling and urgent need for stringent legislation to protect children from balloons, and perhaps from homebrew aircraft of every stripe. We can’t have the irresponsible amateur aviators of this nation leave their temptingly fun flying contraptions loosely tethered to their backyard fences where children might accidentally not climb into them and thereby transfix an entire nation without some sort of consequence. Or else the next kid not to climb into a Reynolds-Wrap-and-toothpick craft could be YOURS…

The balloonistas in this country are inevitably going to cry foul over such an egregious restriction of their rights. But they only have themselves to blame. I mentioned how popular their chosen pursuit is, didn’t I? This would be totally different if it were, say, a story about a kid getting shot with an Uzi at a gun show. Gun-related mishaps don’t garner nearly the attention that balloon safety non-incidents do, and for very good reason. You can’t even find reliable statistics about gun deaths in this country, because it’s just not that big a deal. Meanwhile, the Falcon Heene Affair very publicly raises the number of balloon-related media frenzies that do not involve fatality or injury throughout recorded history to ONE. And that’s something that we and our elected representatives can simply not afford to ignore.

Also birthday clowns. They cannot afford to ignore this either. And carnival workers. And horses. Pay attention, horses, if you're not already doing so. (It's hard to tell with horses in New York - you get the distinct impression that a lot of them are going through life with blinders on.)

To think, this all could have been avoided if the Heenes were gun enthusiasts. Nothing like a good Second-Amendment-sanctioned child slaying to keep a family below the radar, eh? Chuckle chuckle chuckle bang.

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