Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Riffing off Matthew Lippman's title: monkey bars

The monkey bars are gone from the Oxford Park. I'm not surprised. I've never seen anyone get brained there, or break an arm. Or even fall. But it could happen. And we don't like hard surfaces or steel bars around our kids. Childhood is now brought to you by Nerf.

I might posit that the monkey bars were stolen by the cast of the board game Clue. I could completely see Colonel Mustard wacking the monkey bars in the billiard room with the wrench.

At one point the Oxford Police Department had two unmarked cop cars. One was maroon, one was French's yellow. Our friend Siachos deemed them "Professor Plum" and "Colonel Mustard." You can guess that stuck like long hair to flypaper.

So maybe Clue becomes an extended metaphor for small town cops and our tendency to want to protect ourselves to boredom or some form of numbness. I'm guilty too. Nobody wants their kids to get hurt. I probably wouldn't let our girls on the monkey bars (the photo above shows the exact set up the Oxford Park rocked), as much as I dug them and as much as they conjure up my childhood, of which I am also a fan.

I haven't read Matthew Lippman's book Monkey Bars yet. It might not even get its name from the archetypal public playground apparatus. But you can bet that after reading The Rumpus's interview with Lippman and review of the book, that I ordered that shit directly. As has been established, I dig monkey bars.

And I am happy to riff off of Lippman's title to let my mind wander back to the days of 20-inch BMX bike transportation, to a time of sharp edges and jumping high and far off of wooden swings out toward the water; of running in the air like fucking Carl Lewis and hitting the ground and rolling to lessen the impact; of grass-stained knees and skinned elbows and open-mouthed smiles; of laughing and not worrying.

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