Over the years we've all seen some deliciously concocted stories about horrible and/or wonderful things that have turned out to be BS: The Runaway Bride, telling scary tales of abduction to avoid the altar when it might have been a bit easier to just say “whoa, uh, dude? No thanks.” There was that whole “send this chain email to every human on the planet and Bill Gates will give you $245 dollars for each person it goes to!” thing that was so pathetically and obviously fake it almost sounded like it could be true. George Bush was rumored to have an intelligence quotient somewhere above room temperature, but it eventually became clearly evident he was somewhere around the mid 50's – run Gee Dubya, run!
Short-term urban mythology, hoaxes written for the ADHD set, and my God the things we'll believe.
Today I found myself reading – again – about Falcon Heene, the offspring of parents Richard and Mayumi Heene. You know - Balloon boy. Simple enough story: family, the willing victims of a TV reality show in the past, do meteorology as a hobby (really?) and like most people they have a weather balloon in their back yard. Boy is reported to have climbed in, and said balloon then loosed somehow, soared to 7,000 feet or so across the Colorado landscape, followed by helicopters and cops on the ground and evidently NORAD, just to crash on the ground empty. Boy is later located hiding in attic of the home, everyone breathes a Baby Jessica sized sigh of relief. Boy says, on camera “you guys said we did this for the show.”
Kids say the darnedest things, damnit.
The WTF factor in this isn't all that high – it seems people are unapologetic in their addiction to television which depicts stupid people behaving stupidly and rudely, and this family serves as a very good example of the fodder we make of ourselves when someone waves a couple dollars in our faces and implies fame and fortune are at hand and states”You're gonna be on television!” It would appear these five words have the capacity to reduce the common American male or female into drooling, doddering imbeciles willing to do pretty much anything, regardless the fact they appear to be aware it'll look, sound, and make them seem utterly grotesque.
So while Little Falcon Heene was napping in the box in the attic and a few dollars were splayed about the area in terms of aviation fuel and manpower to look skyward for him, many additional pairs of eyes were glued to their Plasma and LCD's in HD while tampons and Kraft Food products (which contain very little in the way of actual food) and airlines (who love to talk about helping us fly but hate to actually do it I suspect) flash briefly across their screens all across the nation. In a spasm of epileptic colorful horror, godawful ads burn buzzword-driven pathways into our souls, forcing us to get on Expedia and buy a ticket to pretty much anywhere, knowing the journey will suck but compelled to go anyway.
So complex, but so easy. Having said it, though, I want you to weigh in: would you do it? Would you swap your wife, or let a nanny come discipline your unruly child, or try to marry some bachelor bus driver who is rumored to be worth millions of dollars, or strand yourself on a desert island and let hipster jerkoffs treat you like roadkill, or audition in front of bored, disaffected judges in hopes of being the next Celine although you know full well you can't describe what a note is, much less sing one?
Is there a limit? $10,000? $50,000? What? Is this fun? Is it serious? Do you care?
Me? Oh, boy – I gotta tell you I could sure use an extra few bucks right now, but...I mean, damn.
I cannot imagine parading myself and my wife and my kids around in highly-edited fashion, camera crews asking if they can tape me peeing, presenting only those worst family moments, all to make a few dollars at the complete expense of my current and future dignity. Just seems like a big “no!”
Until next time – Cheers! =^oo^=