Watching April Might Be Hazardous

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comThe internet has created yet another viral sensation.

This one is long-necked, spotted and 15 months pregnant.

She is April the giraffe.

By the time you read this, April may have had her bouncing bundle of joy. Then again, she still may be pacing in her stall at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY.

If you’re not familiar with April, you can get to know her as she goes through the final days of her gestation period.

Just log on to aprilthegiraffe.com, and you can watch her through the stationary camera as she eats, sleeps, walks or just stands there — which she does most of the time.

In the stall immediately behind her is Oliver, the father. This is Oliver’s first calf. It’s April’s fourth trip around the block. I didn’t know this, but a baby giraffe weighs 150 pounds and is 6 feet tall at birth.

Occasionally, a zoo handler — a giraffe whisperer, I suppose — will come in the stall to check on April. Who knows what they do while they’re in there.

Here’s what I do know, though.

Thousands of people all over the world are watching April so they can see the baby giraffe be born.

Since this is a family newspaper — and since such things make me squeamish — I won’t elaborate on how I see it unfolding, but I don’t see any way it can be pretty.

I have a little experience with the miracle of birth within the animal kingdom.

I was probably 7 or 8 years old when daddy bought a herd of black angus cattle. Every day after he got home from work, we drove to the farm to check on them in the summer and throw out some hay bales for them in the winter.

I don’t really know why he got them in the first place. And I sure don’t know why he thought it would be a good idea to have another farmer’s bull come over for a play date one day, but he did.

Of course, one of the heifers got pregnant. (Yes, I realize that was the plan. Don’t email me.)

Somehow or another, daddy knew when she was close to delivering.

I thought I might sit out that trip, but oh, no, that wasn’t happening. This was something I needed to see, from what I was told.

When we got there that evening, the pregnant heifer was not with the rest of the herd. We set out to look for her.

A few moments after we started walking the perimeter of the field, we could hear her mooing.

It wasn’t a regular moo. It was the moo you moo when your quarterback throws an interception in the 4th quarter. It was the moo you moo when you drop the shampoo bottle on your toe.

It was also the moo you moo — which I unceremoniously learned— when you’re having a calf.

I’m not quite sure how I thought it would look. I certainly wasn’t expecting the stork to bring it wrapped in a pink blanket. And I knew it wouldn’t look like a Disney adaptation suitable for Saturday morning cartoons.

But I wasn’t expecting it to look the way it did.

Now, here’s why I’m concerned for the people watching April.

In homes, in classrooms and in cars idling at red lights all over the world, people are going to witness a big, big giraffe give birth to a big, big baby.

And if giraffes are anything like black angus heifers, it’s going to be gross.

Are trauma counselors on standby? Are parents ready to explain what’s going on to their impressionable youngsters? Are parents ready to see it themselves?

Privacy is pretty much a thing of the past nowadays. Even in our most intimate moments big brother seems to be watching us.

Not even a pregnant giraffe is immune. 

I probably won’t be watching, though. I’m still trying to unsee my first live birth.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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