The story that captivated the nation ends with a whimper, not a bang. “A 6-year-old boy…thought to be inside a balloon that floated over Colorado for over two hours has been found alive at his home, the county sheriff said,” reports the New York Times.
The boy, Falcon Heene, clearly was inspired by The Simpsons, specifically the “Radio Bart” episode, summarized here:
It is Bart’s birthday. Homer buys him a “Superstar Celebrity Microphone” that sends sound through an AM radio. Bart plays a prank on the town with the radio. He throws the radio down a well and talks on the microphone, acting like he is trapped in the well.
Homer: That Timmy is a real hero!
Lisa: How do you mean, Dad?
Homer: Well, he fell down a well, and… he can’t get out.
Lisa: How does that make him a hero?
Homer: Well, that’s more than you did!