Baby Eating Watermelon isn’t a likely contender for long-term viral video fame. As far as infant-based viral videos go, there’s no jaw-dropping action (the one where the breakdancer kicks the toddler in the face) or big personalities at play (the famous “Charlie Bit Me” clip). But I’ve been devoting an unusually large portion of my mental energy into thinking about the 35-second video and trying to figure out what it means.
The clip’s obvious hook, of course, is that it is adorable. Our subject is a chubby cheeked baby boy with a fuzz of dark hair who has been placed, incongruously, inside of a hollowed-out watermelon. Undeterred by his situation, the baby contentedly gums the rind’s remaining flesh, bobbing back and forth between slurps.
Site Map But the more you think it, the clip seems even more odd. For one, there’s the minimal nature of the video. There isn’t a crowd watching and reacting — even the person filming doesn’t really interact with the baby (other than saying the word “Memphis” in a Southern drawl at the 18 second mark). In fact, in the first half of the clip you can hear a whacking noise in the background, like a spoon on a glass bowl, indicating that there’s at least one more person in the house and he or she is oblivious or indifferent to what’s going on mere feet away. Other than that, the soundtrack consists merely of ambient noise, a slight background hiss and the small smacking sounds of the baby nibbling on the watermelon.
Even more than unnerving than Baby Eating Watermelon’s lack of people is the baby’s calm and good nature. Babies are unpredictable, but I’m still surprised that he’s so unfazed by his situation that he has the wherewithal to realize that his container is edible and delicious. Additionally, he’s not transfixed by the camera — far from it. Generally, he’s either eying the watermelon or gazing into the distance, unimpressed by the only potential source of attention. He just sits there, the collar of his shirt hanging low like a saucy Kentucky cocktail waitress, and paying attention to the task at hand.
It’s a strange video for many reasons, but my obsession doesn’t stem solely from its absurdity. After watching the video at least 50 times, I’ve transformed the baby into a symbol of the everyman. What if I were the baby? Would I be so collected that I would just ignore the other people in the room, including the person filming? Would I be okay with being placed in the confined wetness of a disemboweled watermelon? And would I take the opportunity to just sit back, relax and chew for whatever scraps I could find?
I’m no advocate for the trite “from the mouths of babes” school of thought, pretending that children are instilled with a pure wisdom that gets slowly beaten out of them for the rest of their lives. But Watermelon Baby conveys a message of tranquility and acceptance. His ability to be content is astounding, since he’s able to disregard the unfamiliarity, adversity or humiliation of his situation. In life, we all have our watermelons — an unsatisfying job, a hopeless relationship — but we could only hope to face them as rationally and calmly.
You never know what situation, or fruit, life will put you in. Just hope to be able to chew off whatever enjoyment you can.
God bless you, Watermelon Baby. You’re an inspiration to us all.