By John | March 24, 2008
In this particular case, the “Dumbo” was not an elephant. The “Dumbo” this Saturday was the well-intentioned idiot(s) who set up operation EggDrop in Cartersville, Georgia. The idea behind the Cartersville EggDrop was to replace the old boring egg hunt with a helicopter dropping 10k Easter eggs onto a small section of a football field. This might have sounded like a good idea, but an unfortunate string of events reminded me of how I felt upon my first viewing of Operation Dumbo Drop (a cute Disney movie with a couple of blundering soldiers, Ray Liotta and Danny Glover, and their well-intentioned, ill-planned attempt to replace a Vietnamese village’s punctured pachyderm).
After the event a neighbor said to me, this had to be an Easter egg hunt engineered by men with no women involved. I added that it was most likely ex-military men. In all fairness to the organizers, this was supposed to happen a week ago, but those pesky tornadoes sort of got in the way, so the event was postponed to this weekend. My boys and I arrived at the EggDrop location, which happened to be at the foot of the historic 1,000-year-old Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site. The first sign of a plan gone wild revealed itself as we approached a fenced-in football field that already held about 5,000 crammed-in people. My first instinct was to turn and run, but I doubt that I could have explained my flight to the 5-year-old with a vice grip on his Easter basket . EggDrop ground zero was the 50 yard line, and it was surrounded by yellow event tape at a radius of about 20 yards. When the helicopter made its first pass, that yellow event tape was no match for the thousands of screaming kids who burst through to catch the falling plastic eggs. The real problem, though, was that the organizers had not expected that the first drop of around 700 eggs would pelt moms, dads, and unsuspecting eight-year-olds. Panic erupted into chaos when some idiot oranizer with a mega-phone shouted to everyone, “Please, Leave The Field Immediately!” Too late, pal, Pandora’s Easter basket was already wide open. There were hundreds of crying and lost children and bruised, panicking parents frantically circling the 50 yard line. The second attempt by the then extremely annoying Megaphone-distiller-of-Chaos– “It is Important. You Must Leave The Field, Immediately!”Â Â This just exacerbated the frenzy of separated parents and kids who simultaneously trying to obey the Mega-Idiot and search for their scattered families. At one point, I ran over to the M-I and tried to explain to him that no parent is going to leave the field without the right wounded children, myself included. I further pleaded with him to radio the helicopter and ask them to hold off dropping any eggs until things could be sorted out. He informed me that he did not have radio contact with the helicopter. I didn’t stick around to discuss the comparison of this situation to the underlying theme of Joesph Heller’s most famous book. Instead I dove into the scrum to find my kids. As I pushed my way to the 48 yard line, I saw my two boys sitting on the ground crying. Meanwhile, goofy old RayLiotta in the helicopter was circling with another drop of about 700 more plastic eggs, which cascaded onto the field amidst rippling pops as the egg shells bounced off every man, woman, and child. I ‘m pretty sure that my two boys took the brunt of about salvos before we escaped the perimeter of the field. In fact, as we were leaving the park I counted no fewer than the 7 rounds of egg drops. As we left through the final exit of the park, one of the organizers asked if I was sure that I had all my kids with me. Normally, I pride myself of being able to come up with a snappy retort in situations like this, but I just looked up at the woman and turned back to kids and said, “Come on, kids, let’s go to Target and get some candy and plastic egg shells and see what what kind of chaos we can form from one of our upstairs backyard windows.”