Academics, physicists and political scientists once agreed that nothing on earth moves more slowly than a new health care law plodding through the U.S. Congress.
Not any more. The new record for slow-motion action is now held by April the Giraffe, who has kept half the world spellbound for over a month as she refuses to birth her baby.
April lives at the Animal Adventure Park in south central New York state. She’d already delivered four long-necked infants when she and her mate, Oliver, decided to make another.
The birth of April’s fifth calf was expected to be a joyful occasion at Animal Adventure Park, but as the due date passed, April's anticipated delivery became a global obsession.
When a live webcam started streaming April’s every twinge, shiver and bleat, fans of both wildlife and drama couldn’t get enough. The term “giraffe porn” was born.
As of March 15, 2017, 80 million people had spent more than 2 billion minutes watching April’s giraffe cam. She became such a cultural icon a new page on the Animal Adventure Park website was set up to sell April memorabilia.
Fans of giraffe gestation can now order an animated April emoji that features a giraffe calf skydiving from April’s womb.
Non-digital fans may purchase hats, shirts and embroidered tote bags featuring April’s likeness.
Meanwhile, as April lingers in maternity limbo, news organizations are running out of ways to report the non-event.
Early news clips simply said, “April is due any day.” When she was two weeks late, headlines showed concern. Then they veered into hysteria. The latest social media and “news” reports about the Big Reveal include some journalistic gems.
Animal Adventure Park officials reported on Facebook that, “We witnessed some very interesting behavior that had us on edge.”
The next day, they announced that April’s behavior “had settled.” Whew.
As a winter storm approached April’s habitat, one newspaper reported that, “April the giraffe is going to have that baby, storm or no storm.”
Alert the Pulitzer Prize committee.
Two days later, webcam viewers went wild when April made actual movements.
One social media observer delivered the blow-by-blow account, saying, “April lady(sic) down in her pen. She’s exhausted. April stands up.”
Website inquisitr.com had the most compelling coverage of an April event, writing: “Moments ago, Animal Adventure Park’s biggest star walked to the center of her stall, widened her stance, lifted her tail for a few moments…”
April’s owners aren’t saying it out loud, but their giraffe is a cash cow.
Celebrity website TMZ reported that the 30-day contract with April’s original webcam sponsor had expired and April’s owners were shopping for a new sponsor willing to spend millions to splash its logo on the live feed of the birth and have exclusive video access to the first five days of the baby giraffe’s life.
The way things are going, no one will be surprised if April’s owners wrap the newborn calf in swaddling clothes and lay it in a six-foot-long manger.
So far, wise men from the East bearing gifts have not been spotted in April’s vicinity. There is speculation their visas may have been rejected at the border.
April’s story may not be news, but it sure is fun. If she gets tired of being peeped at, April should run for Congress. Her learning curve wouldn’t be steep at all.
Mostly because April has already mastered the First Commandment of politics: Make sure you get paid before you deliver the goods.
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