The pratfalls of growing up

Recently, I’ve had a hankering for play.  Of course, with nobody to play with, I’ve begun playing a cheap X-Box version of Tony Hawk American Wasteland to wile away my hours of free time.   Amongst all this free time, I have had a lot of time to reminisce about my childhood and lit upon all of the fun I had at McDonalds and other places with those playplaces.  Those cramped tubes, those unsanitary ball pits, those smudgy windows where I could wave to Mommy and Daddy as they undoubtedely wished they could be up there playing as well.  And then I remembered the day when I was no longer allowed to play, when the hand of the Hamburgler was no longer far over my head but somewhere around my ears and shoulders– The beginning of the end of my childhood.  Some may say that it was a rite of passage, and indeed I was mildly excited when I realized that I was no longer considered a “little kid,” by the mere fact that I was finally tall enough not to be allowed into the mazes of tubes and ladders and slides — no longer allowed through the three-foot diameter portal of joy.

But, as the initial excitement of growing up faded away (relatively quickly), my brothers and I fell upon the question of why they didn’t make claustrophobic tube playgrounds for “big kids”?

Of course, the concept of playgrounds for adults is nothing new — in fact, Germany has begun construction on such a thing, including chess and badminton and — things adults already do.  But what about the colorful tubes?  Windows you can peek out of?  Those tic-tac-toe boards?  The “captain’s ships”?  The wonderful smell of sweaty plastic?  The fun of being smooshed up against some other random kid while trying to pass each-other in opposite directions?  The bumps and bruises on your knees from crawling around on all fours?  And getting lost in it all like there’s nobody that can hurt you in your protective spaceship/homebase/cocoon/hive, and forgetting that Mommy told you that you have to clean your room when you get home?

Quite frankly, I miss it.  And I’d assume that there are plenty of other college students and even parents feeling the same way as they watch their younger counterparts peek through windows and wave at them and appear at the bottom of the windy slide moments later in a fit of giggles as their hair stands up from the massive static accumulation.  Don’t we need the colors to interrupt the mundane blacks and grays and browns that permeate our society?  Don’t we need a metaphorical way to block out the world and have the chance to just peek at it from behind protective clear plastic?  Don’t we need a break from Sudoku and crossword puzzles and video games?  Don’t we need a place to call our “captain’s seat” until we’re bored and we can just hand it over to the next person without any risk of a huge corporate failure and need for a bailout?  Don’t we need to invigorate our senses with that musk smell that is apparently all the rage?  And what better way to meet your future soul mate than by awkwardly bumping shoulders and hips as you pass by with awkward hello’s and mumblings of “gotta get to home base”?  And we could all do with a few more bruises on our knees!  Last of all, couldn’t we all do with the sudden amnesia and carefree attitude that comes with entering into that impenitrable castle of plastic?

So, scale up the tube diameter, add a few more twists and turns to keep it interesting, amp up the classic rock, keep the smoothies flowing — what could be better?

It’d be the most fun I’d ever have working out.

playland

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