This Is What It’s Like To March A Parade Balloon

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images.
“I was a balloon pilot in the parade. We ruled the skies.” A poster on Metafilter's forum has a completely insane account of what it’s like to be a balloon jockey in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. The author, who named his or her account "March of the Balloon Animals," claims to have been a balloon jockey in the early aughts. The writer also has a long story about just how hard that job is; evidently, the parade's walk through the park is far from a walk in the park. The post covers everything from the technical aspects of training (spoiler: there’s no training) to the dangers of crossing an intersection. There’s a delightful section about near-misses with the balloons, which are surprisingly easy to puncture on lampposts, and the childhood scars balloon pilots can inflict if they accidentally disembowel a two-story-tall Big Bird. Let’s be real: We still remember the Great Deflating Barney Incident of 1997. There’s plenty of heartwarming stuff, but there’s also loads that will make you cringe and wonder who thought this parade was such a good idea, anyway. Clearly, not Barney.

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