There once was a day when steel pipes were piled atop each other, welded together to form a tall pyramid and was erected over a slab of asphalt. Some called it a jungle gym but we all knew it as the almighty monkey bars.
The winter seasons would freeze the metal into a slippery cage dangerously unclimbable and no fun at all.
In the summer heat the bars would be too hot to touch, the smooth metal under my little hands was almost malleable against my superhero grip..
I used to wear my jacket with just the hood on my head and the drawstring tied so the fabric would flap like a cape as I flew across the playground.
One day I was perched high on the structure when I jumped off and instead of sailing towards the ground like I had planned, the hood string caught on a corner of pipe and hung me there like a doomed cowboy dangling from the gallows.
I struggled to free myself and once I fell from the monkey bars I ran my fingers across my throat and felt the lynch scar grow and swell like Clint Eastwood’s and my 8 year old smile never felt more like a superhero’s.
In an aside, this all makes me remember when there was a time when objects and mindsets were heavier duty, meatier by weight and simply put together better. Playgrounds have now literally gone soft, kids wear helmets everywhere they go and they have lights on their shoes, state of the art carseats, and full suspension on their strollers. In case a little 4×4 action occurs in the parking lot of Target, I imagine. Multitudes of other safety amenities assure our kids a smooth and painless journey into adolesence and adulthood. Conversely, consumer products are becoming more shoddy instead of being built with any sense of longevity, we have a disposable item lifestyle we’ve quickly gotten accustomed to.
Then again my parents would say the same thing about their generation and so on. Curious to how far the changes will continue, grown adults wearing helmets and crash suits? Children in bubbles until they get armpit hair? Throw-away cars, houses, spouses?