Begin with the premise that any and all news stories and videos viral on the Internet are suspect of veracity. If that doesn’t make you cynical as hell, it ought to. Because even the feel good stories about “dying boy has final breath on Santa’s lap” will rip out your heartstrings, then tie them around your neck and choke you out as you learn they are misleading or in some cases, entirely concocted.
The Shoff family have become famous overnight with a release of a nannycam video of their twin toddlers Brock and Bowdy climbing on and tipping over a nursery dresser alone in their room. The dresser falls and traps Brock underneath in tears, stuck. Bowdy surveils the situation and after a few minutes of play, promptly rescues his brother by little kid shoving aside the dresser. Voila. Instant miniature hero. All caught on HD tape.
Kayli Shoff claims she didn’t see the incident live, did not hear the screams of her trapped son, and simply died inside when she spotted the aftermath shot and ran from her bedroom to her children’s room. She later posted the nannycam videos to YouTube. The videos are now exceeding ten million views, with ads, and also available for paid license. Is a paid license for a family home video odd? You tell me. Or think it and I’ll try to pick up on your thoughts. Yes, I agree.
Because it’s the Internet, many people are questioning the parenting prowess of a mom and dad who leave their kids alone in their room unsupervised and don’t hear furniture falling or kids screaming from action movie like stunts gone wrong. I would too if similar incidents hadn’t happened to me twenty times as a child. It all seemed pretty normal at the time. My brother would’ve raised the volume on the Elmo radio to muffle my screams. Sick bastard. And I the same. You found your parents if a bone was protruding through your skin, otherwise, they were busy. Later you learned that busy meant drinking. And now as an adult, you once again call it “busy”.
The father, Richard Shoff, posted the story to Facebook as well with a warning about bolting your furniture to the wall. IKEA, who makes the unassembled dresser in their Swedish concentration camps, responded by reminding everybody that they’ve included bolting material and equipment with all their dressers for forty years now but nobody seems to want to bother. That’s true of all furniture and appliances sold in the U.S. that have the potential for tipping over or falling. Nobody likes to be sued on the back end of a crushed toddler. Juries cry and start adding zeroes.
The Shoffs have now appeared on Good Morning America and are booking similar media rounds discussing the need for child furniture safety. Also, thanking God repeatedly for their children not being hurt, just simply brave and adorable. They have an Instagram account documenting their adorableness since their birth, in great detail. Is that a clue? Again, allow me to read your mind.
People are no more horrible today than before, it’s simply that social media in particular has exposed humanity’s lesser angels and also provided a means of fame and fortune for people simply for being horrible. That leads a good percentage of people to question whether a pretty blond mom maybe rigged the system to put her family in the media buzz wheelhouse where there is potential for money and a reality show on TLC. You’d certainly like to think not. And you’re welcome to think not as you lay yourself to sleep blissfully each evening in a stupor of unicorn dreams. I’ll wait and see. I generally don’t trust dance instructors. Or people who name their kid Bowdy.