The slightly off-kilter person or people behind new blog 1000 Awesome Things has been a bit hit-or-miss from this reader’s perspective. I mean… broccoflower? Really? Today, though he/she/they hit a real home run with Awesome Thing #980: Old, Dangerous Playground Equipment.
Until I became a GeekDad, I didn’t really notice the slow mutation of the playground from a metal-and-wood jungle that rewarded the adventurous and exacted a price from the uncoordinated, into its modern form — a safe, triclosan-impregnated series of round-edged enclosures rotomolded in bright colors and underlaid with six-inch rubber pads. The dad part of me is kind of grateful for this — I don’t have to worry nearly as much as I suspect my parents did (or maybe didn’t). The kid in me, though, is disappointed that my daughter is being discouraged from pulling stunts like hanging from her knees at a height that feels positively alpine to her, or ripping off the merry-go-round at top speed and piling into the nearest adult full-tilt. Besides which, every modern playground, whether it be at McDonald’s or the corner park, looks practically identical!
1000 Awesome Things agrees:
It wasn’t just slides, either. Everything in the playground was more dangerous. And they were different and unique, seemingly put together by the neighborhood handymen who in a burst of creative energy one
Saturday morning emptied their garages of old tires, 2×4s, and chains and just nailed it all together.
There were wooden tightrope beams suspended high in the air, daring the confident, athletic kids to attempt a slow, heart-pounding highwire walk while other kids encouragingly showered them with handfuls of sand and pine cones.
Click through for the whole thing. Some of it’s laugh-out-loud funny, tinged with just enough sarcastic nostalgia to make you think maybe the writer really does miss the days when fun was allowed to incorporate a small element of danger. I know I do. How about you?