With the ongoing compression of our news cycle, I have already reached my limit on Balloon Boy before I even had a chance to post about it. I’m sure you have too, but if you haven’t watched the actual moment when wee Falcon Heene blows his parents’ cover on live television, it is really worth taking a look. Here’s a partial transcript:
DADDY HEENE: Falcon, did you hear us calling your name out at any time?
FALCON: Mm hmm.
DADDY HEENE: You did?
MOMMY HEENE: (nodding frantically to elicit correct response) You did?
DADDY HEENE: Then why didn’t you come out?
FALCON: Um. You guys said… that… um… we did this for the show.
Daddy Heene craps his pants.
DADDY HEENE: …Yeah…
MOMMY HEENE: …Nooo…
Even Wolf Blitzer isn’t sure what to say next.
I am very happy that I did not know about these events as they were unfolding, else I would have been glued to the television, sobbing for this terrified six year old boy and his terrified parents. But I have watched the CNN cover-blowing moment about eleventeen times. I love it because it’s so pure. A six year old is just not that good a liar, yet, and I can’t believe his parents didn’t factor that in to their maniacal schemes. Still, It’s not like Falcon tells the truth out of pure, youthful innocence. He gets this devilish smirk on his face first, like, I’m going to be a naughty boy now. Of course, by blowing the whistle on the whole shenanigans, he was just the opposite. After watching the look on Falcon’s face, you have to know this is a hoax, just because this kid is clearly not afraid of his parents at all, let alone afraid enough to hide from them in a crawl space for five hours.
I still don’t really get what Daddy Heene thought they were going to get out of this. If the balloon landed, his kid was hiding the whole time, and the setup was never revealed, was that somehow going to be some amazing event? Not really, right? It is the unraveling, the revelation of the hoax itself, that has kept us all watching.
Of course, the really childish one here is Daddy Heene, who thought he could cry wolf and get away with it. How fortuitous, then, that his son has already internalized the example of George Washington and the cherry tree: he could not tell a lie.