All Babies Are Famous on the Leap Year
March 1, 2008
Just the other day, my friend B. and I were watching a segment on French TV5 about a conference for carrier pigeon enthusiasts. B., a French expat, commented that American news neglects the joys of everyday life and ordinary people. While I wouldn’t rest my case on pigeons (nor would she), I completely agree. American news, especially television news, is functionalist with a slant of fear: dangers to your health, your finances, your personal safety. Public media like NPR occasionally tune into subcultures, but less so in their core programming.
But now I offer a glimmer of hope! The Leap Year Baby endures to lighten up an otherwise depressing news menu!
Early yesterday morning, my friends gave birth to a little boy named Beni. That took 29 hours. Not long after, a local news station stretched the Leap Year part into an entire 2.5 minutes (about 2 minutes too long). Watch it here, if only to hear the phrase “strict Februarian” used in context. And, of course, to see Beni and his dazed but happy parents.
When I arrived at the hospital later that day, several other news crews were on hand. The hospital’s five Leap Year Babies were swaddled in blankets, stripes all in the same direction, and arranged on a bed, surrounded by cameras.
Having watched the above video, I tried to coach Beni’s parents on better sound bites. They smiled sweetly and dismissively. But, five minutes later, while trying to get a glimpse of his new son over the heads of the cameramen, Beni’s dad turns to me and says:
“Of course I thought he was famous when he was born… but then all these people with big cameras show up and it turns out he really is.”
I hope someone got that on tape.