Robert Gray

Robert Gray

I’m sitting in the waiting area of an El Paso hospital scanning news headlines and a sweet, instrumental version of “Rock-a-Bye Baby” comes on. I’m a bit slow, but when the clip plays again a little later, I get it: The lullaby announces that a baby was born.

I forget the headlines and start imagining what might be happening in a room on some floor above me as a new life is welcomed into the world.

An old column by Charles Krauthammer, the prominent political commentator who died last June, comes to mind. I dig it up later that afternoon.

“Having a child, I discovered, makes you dream again and, at the same time, makes the dreams utterly real,” he wrote in The Washington Post in 1985 about the birth of his son, Daniel.

“I had been warned by friend and foe that life would never be the same. They were right.”

I can certainly relate as a father of three (soon to be four).

Amidst the very serious business of helping people get better at the hospital, the lullaby is an occasional reminder of the sweeter things of life and a simple fact: We are all human. Like looking down on the city from the Franklin Mountains, it puts things in perspective and diffuses tension.

That birthrates have been in steady decline in the U.S. and other developed countries is hardly news at this point. In 2018, the number of people born in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in 32 years.

But I was surprised to discover the trend is taking hold in El Paso, a family friendly city with a low cost of living and a more traditional culture. David Crowder writes about the trend – and what it could mean for the future – in his front-page story.


In other baby news, did you hear the collective groan of El Paso parents Tuesday? Pinkfong and Round Room Live announced “Baby Shark Live!” is coming to the Sun City.

Yes. There is now a live show.

For those who aren’t parents and don’t already have “doo doo doo doo” running through their head, the Baby Shark song is a viral earworm for kids about a family of sharks that has been played 3.9 billion times on YouTube. (Kids play it on endless repeat.)

After entering the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 32, the song has had a 17-week streak in the Top 50.

According to the promotional material, “Baby Shark Live!” has “made a splash” across North America. It’s described as a “fully immersive concert experience.”

It sounds like some sort of electronic dance music rave, but for kids. I imagine a DJ, known professionally as Baby5hark, rising above the stage in an oversized shark mask as lasers and fog blanket the room and kids jump around him.

OK, maybe not. But I do know that if you put that song on at the Gray-family household, all the kids within earshot instantly begin moshing in the living room like magic. What makes it so catchy and loop-able? Vice News asked the experts:

“Part of the answer is to do with familiarity. It follows a basic I-IV-V-I chord progression in C Major (So C, F, C, G), which you could say is a very common pattern in pop music (think: The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” [actually written by Bert Berns and Phil Medley in 1961], The Troggs’ “Wild Thing’, The Ting Tings’ “That’s Not My Name,” “Mustang Sally”… etc etc.)”

OK, got it.

One of my colleagues and fellow parents here at El Paso Inc. said the Baby Shark song is “broken” at her home so they can’t play it anymore. Smooth move. Smooth move.