A Gender-Reveal Celebration Is Blamed for a Wildfire. It Isn’t the First Time.
— The New York Times, 9/7/20


The “Meteor” That Killed the Dinosaurs (~66 billion years BCE) – An entire village of dinosaurs decides to go big for their Queen’s gender reveal party. They find the largest boulder on Earth, roll it up the highest mountain, and drop it off a cliff at the summit. They believe, in accordance with Brontosaurus legend, that the rock will break open to reveal a giant rattle whose color (Mud, Leaf, Sea, or Sun) shall correspond to one of the four normative dinosaur genders.

Yellow River Flood (1344) – Party guests play a traditional Chinese game, “Cut Down a Tree,” in the Loess Plateau Forest. Each guest then writes their guess of “‘staches” or “lashes” on their tree trunk and hurls it into the mighty river to ensure the baby’s luck and prosperity. Unbeknownst to them a major dam, already near its breaking point, is located four miles downstream. NB: Tragically, this game has remained popular ever since, despite the recurrent floods that ensue. The government's attempt to stem the tide with the One-Child Policy (1979) has been dismayingly ineffective.

Small Pox Epidemic (1518) – Christopher Columbus notoriously invites the leaders of the Lakota Tribe to his mistress’s baby naming party, where pink blankets are handed out as “party favors” to celebrate the birth of a baby girl.

Great Chicago Fire (1871) – In a stunning display of state-of-the-art pyrotechnics, the expectant parents of Baby “Blazin” Bill Jenkins set off fireworks depicting the male genitalia. Sadly for guests hoping to see full anatomical detailing, the vas deferens missile is misfired into an abandoned warehouse, which immediately bursts into flame.

World War I (1914-1918) – Bosnian-Herzegovian couple Davud and Emina give their guests blue toy guns to fire into the streets of Sarajevo, creating a merry salvo to announce the gender of their baby. Historians do not agree on why partygoer Gavrilo Princip’s pop gun had a real bullet in it, but regardless, Archduke Franz Ferdinand happens to be driving by at the exact moment Princip fires and screams, “IT’S A BOY!!!”

World War II (1939-1945) – In 1909 a well-to-do Jewish-Viennese couple hosts a party in which the gender of their fetus is revealed gradually throughout the evening by a live water colorist painting an image of the baby. Unfortunately, the hosts can’t find anyone willing to take on the job other than an 18-year-old art school reject. When the painting is finished, guests are unable to discern whether the portrait is of a human, let alone what its gender might be. Humiliated, the couple dismisses the struggling artist without paying him. He vows revenge.

9/11 (2001): Bin Laden has a vision for a larger-than-life gender reveal to honor the simultaneous pregnancies of his fourth and fifth wife. They tend to be competitive with each other, so it’s only fair to give each her own tower. If his team can manage to pull off the stunt, either pink or blue smoke will billow up to spell out each baby’s gender in the sky as devastating carnage of the infidels ensues.

The U.S. Coronavirus Outbreak (2020-?): Frederick and Mary Trump invite several of their Kew Gardens neighbors over in February of 1946 for cigars and mimosas during her second trimester. Their guests take little notice of Mary’s heavy drinking and smoking throughout the soiree. The baby is revealed to be a boy.


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