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Don’t try this at home; these are not trained professionals

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Brownwood Bulletin

When Wifey and I were awaiting the arrival of the stork back in the years 1997, 1999 and 2001, the closest we had to a “gender reveal party” was calling a few family members and telling them: boy, boy, girl.

There was no such thing as a gender reveal party in that era. From what I have read, that’s a phenomenon that got invented around 2008 or 2009.

Even if gender reveals had existed in 1997 when yoot the elder was born, 1999 when yoot the younger joined us and 2001 when the yootette showed up, it would not have occurred to us to crash airplanes, start wildfires, blow ourselves up or incur other disasters in a misplaced zeal to be cute and trendy.

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You can find reports of gender reveal disasters on numerous websites such as the Mercury News online edition, which I happened to come across in a Google search. I’m quoting from the Mercury News:

• In April 2018, a car whose exhaust had been rigged to spew blue smoke caught fire as it did doughnuts in front of an expectant Australian couple. The driver bailed and the spectators fled in the incident caught on drone video.

• In September 2019, a crop duster that had just dropped 350 gallons of pink water stalled and crashed in front of party guests in Turkey, Texas. The plane was destroyed and a passenger suffered minor injuries. A news report on another site shortly after it happened quoted the pilot as telling investigators he “got too slow” and the airplane stalled. That would certainly be embarrassing.

• In October 2019, 56-year-old woman died instantly when she was struck in the head by a piece of metal from an exploding device during a family gathering at her home in Knoxville, Iowa. She was the grandmother of the baby whose sex was to be revealed by a homemade pipe bomb using gunpowder and colored powder.

• In a March 2018 stunt, nobody was injured, but the treatment of an animal drew criticism when the video was released on Facebook. A man who runs an alligator farm in Louisiana put a watermelon in the mouth of a gator; when the animal bit down, the melon exploded with blue goo.

A recent New York Daily News article reported the woman who started the trend now wants it to stop. “A gender reveal party started a massive Southern California wildfire, and now the woman who began the trend, is once again asking people to stop throwing these destructive parties,” the newspaper reported.

The Daily News article went on to report — and again, I’m quoting from the article — in 2017, an off-duty Border Patrol agent started a wildfire when he shot a decorative target with an explosive to announce that he was having a son.

The fire burned $8.2 million in property, though the agent only had to pay $220,000 in fines after pleading guilty.

You don’t have to have advice from experts to know a gender reveal party that involves airplanes or other moving machinery, firearms, explosives and other dangerous objects — dangerous when they’re not used for their intended purpose — is a disaster-in-waiting. Murphy’s Law very much applies here: anything that can go wrong, will.

I don’t think these folks have evil intent, but it apparently doesn’t occur to them that it is selfish to pull these stunts without regard for the hard-working, often volunteer, firefighters who put their lives on the line to protect other lives and people’s property. Not to mention the destruction they can cause to other people’s property.

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We haven’t had any of the wild, disastrous gender reveals in Brown County that I know of, but let’s not forget the work of fire departments, paid and volunteer, law enforcement and EMS in all situations. Volunteer fire departments had a rough summer with the grass and brush fires, and they would appreciate donations to enable them to keep doing the work they do.

While most of us run away from fire and other dangers, first responders run toward danger. On Sept. 11, 2001, more than 400 first responders gave the last full measure of devotion while responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center.

I don’t want to be a Karen who says no fun allowed. If a gender reveal party is what turns you on, just be responsible. No fires, no explosions, no plane crashes. Puh-leeze.