Thursday, November 24, 2005

The World on a String

Finally. A job that requires even less qualifications than being an op-ed columnist!When I was a kid nothing seemed more exciting than marching Bullwinkle down Central Park West in the Macy's Parade, like a Lilliputian leading a gigantic floating freak on a leash. (I threw the Swift reference in for Diane Cameron.)
After the terrible mishap in 1997 that left a woman seriously injured, Macy's assured us that the handlers would be rigorously instructed in the science of balloon wrangling, which includes heavy doses of aerodynamics and geometry. Yet one person at the end of the rope for the first time this year told the New York Times, "There's no, like, training."
Not, like, exactly. The 2000 or so handlers received this hilarious primer from parade organizers, that includes this caution:
Please do not inhale helium escaping from the balloon.
Now that would be surreal.

UPDATE: Well, there you have it. And how strange is it that this year's parade casualties are from Albany?