I almost pulled off the hoax of my lifetime last week.
Taking a photo at Ministry St. Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point Thursday – my normal day off – of the New Year’s Baby, with my own 6-month-old son with me, I met a photographer/reporter from another newspaper. The hospital’s public relation person introduced us, and following the introduction he asked if the baby with me was the New Year’s Baby.
My first instinct was to say, “Yes, this 6-month-old is the New Year’s Baby,” but I knew better, as the public relations person was well aware my son, Declan, was not that baby. “No, I’m afraid not,” I politely replied.
Had the public relations person not been there, it’s possible the New Year’s Baby featured in that other publication may have been the 6-month-old son of a rival publication’s managing editor. If I had been able to pull that one off, no other hoax I will attempt for the remainder of my life would ever come close to matching it.
Normally, I’d say more than just a public relations person was standing in my way of pulling it off, but with the deadlines that publication faces, as well as the fact it’s printed elsewhere, there is a small chance it could have been published. The photo would have been of him and me, without my wife/his mother as she was not there at the time.
Declan was born in July, nearly two months early. But he’s a healthy baby boy now, weighing around 15 pounds. He would have smiled nicely for the camera, as he already knows how to pose for pictures.
The other reporter was a young guy, and at his age I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between a newborn and a 6-month-old. Babies all looked the same to me then. In fact, when my first son arrived, I asked the doctor if he was an albino little person, as he seemed too small to be the correct size and he seemed much paler than the normal person. Seven years and a second son later, I’m well aware of the differences between newborns, infants and toddlers.
I probably would have fibbed a little bit if the reporter had have believed my “yes” answer to his question about whether or not Declan was the New Year’s Baby. I would have said he was born at the stroke of midnight, making the story a little more dramatic, and that the baby’s mother was Amish, which was why she wouldn’t be in the photograph.
I would have given his current weight, stating he was a very big baby, and that he was an angry baby, upset that he was the youngest son and not the oldest one.
In my slightly warped fantasy of a hoax, Declan would have also been fourth in line to rule a small kingdom in Ireland where our ancestors are from. Ahead of him would be his older brother, me and his great-grandpa who abdicated to marry an American woman in the 1950s.
Having outlined my hoax, I’m sure I wouldn’t have gone through with it, as I’m a full-blooded Midwesterner who has a hard time not telling the truth. But it’s always fun to imagine what could have been and then share it with others. Maybe in another life I’ll pull off this hoax of a lifetime, or one similar to it.