Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
The last line of this ad is actually pretty funny:
"Oh, hi, little Susie? Your mother bought you a Christmas present, but she doesn't want to give it to you anymore. Would you take $30?"
Once again, Perennial Powerhouse Poster and local craigslist celebrity "frogtoes" brings the knowledge:
Seriously, 50 screwdrivers, just like that. Boo-Yah! Comes with basket. Can't beat that with a monkey wrench. And it's a truly epic assortment of screwdrivers, too. Going to give the big prize to this post, though:
Oh-Em-Eff-Gee. Far and away the most intense kiddie toy I have ever seen in all my life. That is nearly as involved as some public playgrounds, yet it's private property. Check out the models on the Rainbow Play Systems website. They go way beyond the one for sale in the advertisement. Crazy! Did you see Metropolis (no. 85)? It's like a small town made out of rope ladders and slides. Excellent.
And yet, I can't help but think that this--like any other toy bought for or owned by children--the personal playground will fall by the wayside and be forgotten, ignored by the terrifically fleeting interests of kids. It's within their nature as children to play with something once or twice and then move one. It's not their fault--it's how they tear through a whole world of stimuli and information, processing everything they need to know and find out. They toys themselves aren't necessarily at fault, either. True, lots of toys are made to cater to short, childish attention spans, but even ones that are clearly built with the intention of giving "years of enjoyment" (or whatever promise of protracted fun the manufacturers make) are doomed at their very genesis. Nothing offers kids lasting entertainment--that's the province of boring grown-ups like us.
Which brings me to my point: why can't I have a playground? Seriously, where is it written that the Parks Dept. can't erect adult sized playgrounds in addition to (instead of? asking too much?) the kid-oriented affairs that polka dot our urban landscape. After all, anyone knows that kids really need nothing more than a pointy stick and a field to swing it in. Us adults are the ones who would really put the playground to use. The closest thing we get to a playground in this world is the gym, which, in addition to being always indoors (and therefore stuffy and perpetually tinged with the delightful olfactory cocktail of sweaty bodies in extremis) is corrupted by the overarching requirement that all the fun be stripped away in the name of "fitness." Blah.
What I want is huge monkey bars, gigantic rope bridges, climbing walls, and high-velocity slides; all of which will be built to a scale that challenges an adult physicality. I say, bring it on! Let's let the grown-ups play, since they're the ones who can actually appreciate engineering and public spaces on more than a surface level for more than a few moments. I don't know what's inappropriate about adults pretending to be a combination Ninja-Indiana Jones--I just know that it's time to lift that particular injunction. I once worked with a guy who had a particularly rambunctious daughter. He and I got to talking once about how it would be a better world if adults learned to live a little more like kids every now and again. Maybe the ten-year-old's vision of the world as a playground would be of enormous benefit for some adults to hold.