About Balloons

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February 14, 2013 by TheBadNewsFairy

About Balloons

I’m off to an exciting start to my planned week of random acts of kindness. It is now Thursday, Valentine’s Day (woohoo!), 2013, and I’ve finally gotten one (1) thing off the ground. Sort of.

After casting about for ideas for a couple of days, I remembered a book I read way back when, which opened with a school sending letters into the sky on balloons. The goal was to see how far they would go, and then, hopefully, whoever found the balloon would write something back about themselves, which the lucky (?) student could then turn into an extra credit report that basically fell into his or her lap.

I like that idea. It’s the right blend of whimsical and fun and gives me the ability to hide behind the distance of anonymity like nothing else. So I hit upon the plan of sending up gift cards tied to balloons, with a little note attached explaining it was an RAOK, and that I was also kind of curious to see how far they would go.

I grabbed some still-good small amount gift cards I’ve never gotten around to using, then blew all the change I happened to have on a whopping three balloons. Today being the day it is, the store mainly had Valentine themed ones, which isn’t quite the magical rainbow of colour I had envisioned lofting into the heavens. But, hey, pink and red and white hearts are pretty cheery, so this could still work.

I was wrong. WRONG.

Not about the colour scheme. That’s still good (yay!).

But about balloons. They are not as strong as one might assume from one’s reading. It took all three of the suckers just to lift a small note written on a gift tag made of thin cardstock. Gift cards are a four balloon deal. Who knew?

Also, how did those kids in that book ever manage to get whole letters afloat on one balloon? My childhood was a LIE!!!


I didn’t have anything left for another balloon, so I just sent a whimsical little note aloft, signed with “I love you.” In case whoever finds it needs to have *someone* tell him or her that, even if it’s some faceless someone they’ll never meet who sent the message via helium and sky.

Just as well, though. If things had gone as I had planned, it would’ve been a shame if the balloons landed in an uninhabited swamp or something and all $3 went to waste.

The other downside, though, is if somebody finds the three balloons and the one tiny message, they may well be all excited and then really disappointed, because it’s just a note.

So, once again, one of my grandiose RAOK attempts has backfired in a way that’s pretty cartoony, but in a way that is boring, unlikely, and lame.

Anyways 2.

I waited until 1:00 am of Valentine’s Day, when it was good and dark and the streets were empty, took the balloons into the backyard and set them aloft. They just managed to clear the housetops and the telephone wires, and headed off due east towards the mountains.

There’s something magical about seeing balloons floating away into the sky, as if, for a brief dizzying moment, you’re going with them.

I hope they land somewhere good, and that someone’s day, somewhere, is a little brightened in some . . . tiny . . . probably rather sad . . . way. And that there won’t be a finish to this story that includes balloon strings wrapping around jet propulsion systems and bringing down a plane or something.

That’s all for today’s RAOK.



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