Fundamental Flaws

Much stupidity and wasted time, below;

It’s interesting that the one thing I think should be waxed nostalgic on is so far from people’s minds these days it’s like they forgot its fundamental importance.

Remember when playgrounds were fun? I mean sure, they were incredibly dangerous places with jungle gyms that were three times your height (making the fall oh-so much more delectible), chains and sharp metal edges on everything and either dusty grass or concrete beneath you? Even falling on the grass hurt, the rocks and packed dirt and grass taking a toll on you. The occasional progressive park with some form of rubber “padding” for ground? That shit rubbed off all over you and was, in hindsight, probably made from melted reused car tires they found in a dump.

You ran around, climbed, swung, slid, and occasionally yes, you did fall and hurt yourself. There’d be blood, you’d cry, and while the rest of the pack would abandon you like the fucking hyenas they were, your mom/dad would come up and tell you it’s OK, throw some water on it and a bandage from the bag. The next day though, you were right back in there, swinging and grasping the heavy and rust-colored stainless-steel chains while the other kids dared you to swing higher and higher, the only thing holding your ass to the rubber flap they called a seat being gravity and your fat little kid hands on the chains.

Nowadays though? I know I’m the first to say FUCK RETRO FUCK NOSTALGIA AND FUCK YOU, but man, playgrounds these days suck. Everything’s so…safe. Do I pine for the days when 1 in 4 children died before they reached 15? Do I wish parents would care less about their children? Am I the type of person who believes that children need to “toughen up” and “not be such a pussy”, following in the vein of covert sexist neocons like the brains behind all these books and studies out these days on “letting boys be boys”?

Fuck no.

Do I miss the feelings of invunerability that I had as a child? Hell yes! Nowadays the fear of dying in my sleep thanks to particuarly spicy nachos and a really scary dream plagues me constantly (for example). When I was a little kid? Even though I was the biggest fucking wimp around, I still rode bikes, climbed trees and monkey bars, rolled down the hill barrell-style, and wrestled with the best of them. Granted I’d get my ass kicked most of the time because I was weak, but that’s not the point.

It almost hurts to see what children get these days. The concept of a childhood, that truly magical time when a kid not only feels like they can take on the world because they climbed to the top of the monkey bars or the giant slide and went down face-first, always a hardcore move, is slowly eroding as children are primed for “bigger and better things”. It’s odd…for most of Western history children were largely regarded as either ornaments, future heirs, or mini-adults. The concept of childhood as a mostly responsibility-free time was so utterly alien to all but the richest 2% of Americans or Eurpoeans, we gasp in shock and awe nowadays in high school history classes to learn about children working in coal mines in America for 10 hours a day from the age of 9 or 10 until the day they died.

The competetive nature of the job market, social climbing (kudos for using your children as tools in clawing your way up the hot shit ladder, parents!) and social arena has turned us into monsters. Kids are both coddled and expected to do good thanks to hours of work. We won’t let them watch kung-fu movies or run around for an hour or so at the playground but instead drill them in baseball and mathletics (or something equally as stupid). “Kill Or Be Killed” and “Whatever It Takes” while at the same time, mom still packs you a lunch and helps you with your homework-high school essays-college applications…see where I’m going with this?

Man, I wanna climb some monkey bars now.

It was an interesting way to get by, seeing as how I was so bereft of social graces, even the supposedly egalitarian subcultures that the X-Games popularized and probably brought to your attention, was a treacherous river to ford. But like I said, I had reasons to fear.

Local hardcore skate crews where I lived at the time were actually incredibly territorial, not to mention total fucking dicks. The most popular story I heard was about a group of older guys jumping two or three out of town younger kids who were skating their spot at a war memorial, intent on teaching these one-uppin’ motherfuckers a lesson. They stole their boards and shoes, the ultimate condemnation of behavior and a clear warning. NOT WELCOME ASSHOLES.

Just something I’ve been working on, maybe for Razorcake?

I’ve come to realize that as annoying as it is to use a whiteboard at work, it’s a tool that I’ve become greatly indebted to because after you finish and erase the first two or three things on the giant TO-DO list you’ve got up, it starts to not look as bad as before. I think I want one for home.

If you don’t know already, when I was a kid I lived overseas. I lived in Greece actually, from when I was 9, to the summer after I turned 16. Not a massive amount of time, but not a short vacation.

It’s interesting, my brother and I have been slowly coming into contact with/being contacted by people we went to school with over there. I’m not terribly interested in what the assholes who used to beat me up are doing now, but at the same time it’s a surreal time of my life, I have almost no connections from it beyond a few photos and memories here and there. The mostly annoying part? The people I WAS friends with appear to not actually have any online presence, so all I’m left with is people I didn’t care about and people who don’t really remember me.

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About Costa

Writer. College professor.
This entry was posted in blogging, childhood memories, nyc, random, vaguely political. Bookmark the permalink.

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