Let me tell you about "Super Sucker."
Super Sucker was a game me and my siblings came up with that we'd play in the basement of the house during winter. The game entailed grabbing toilet plungers and one of them 50 cent el cheapo balls you can pick up at the grocery store. My brother and sister and I would then don capes made from whatever cloth material we could find and the goal would be kind of a tag like game where we'd whack the ball with the toilet plungers at each other. It was a great game because you could hit that ball as hard as possible at your siblings, beaning them right in the head. We'd run around with our capes flying with no particular rules or structure to the game aside from hitting that ball with the plunger as hard as possible. And when not in possession of the ball, we'd taunt our sibling who had the ball by plunging the plunger on the cement floor of the basement - "PA-THWOP PA-THWOP PA-THWOP." Occasionally we'd hit a line drive right at the drier which would make a loud reverberating "BAUWAWAWAMMMMM" sound, reliably followed by our step dad yelling from upstairs to keep it quiet. That basement, despite it being January, got so hot we were dripping sweat.
Another game we'd play was "Hit." Jayme our neighbor would come over and ask me and my brother if we'd want to play "Hit." All Hit was, was a simplified version of baseball as there was not always enough kids to play baseball in the neighborhood. There would be the hitter and two fielders as the hitter would self-pitch the ball to himself and crank it out as far as it could go. We then upgraded to "Super Hit" where we replaced the baseball with a golf ball and summarily pissed off the neighbors as golf balls have a tendency to fly a little farther and hit cars more frequently than baseballs off an aluminum bat.
A friend of mine played "Hogan's Heroes," a game where his dad would come out, armed only with a flash light and the kids would then have to somehow sneak past him, crossing from the neighbor's yard to the east to the neighbor's yard to the west. If the dad spotted them with the flashlight "Colonel Klink" caught them and would have to be sent back to Stalag 13...only to try to escape again!
The common trait in all these games is that all of them required very little, if not, nothing in terms of capital investment. Super sucker required 3 toilet plungers (our step dad, upon finding out we were using the REAL toilet plunger said, "Oh, for Christ's sake, you're playing with used one!!!????" which capitulated him to buy 3 brand spanking new plungers, oh they were shinny), "Hit" required a bat, a ball and some gloves, and "Hogan's Heroes" required a flashlight. And though, there was not a lot of capital investment in these games, these games were the funnest and most memorable games of our childhoods.
No doubt we all had these games. Some a bit more conventional than others. Sure, "Kick the Can" was a popular one or "Bloody Murderer" was another, neither quite as fun as "Super Sucker," but regardless, all these games were the best freaking games on the face of the planet and all you really required was other people and a mere nano-ounce (pun duly noted) of creativity.
Which brings me to my point today; "Parks for Kids"
Well, it's not really "Parks for Kids" because I can't remember the precise title they gave themselves, but I heard a public service announcement on the now dying AM 1500 that there's this political group or campaign "trying to fight the obesity epidemic" and they want you to donate money or vote for more funding for parks for kids.
And the reason I bring this up is because this is a huge testament to just how pathetic we've become as a society that we now have to have government financed parks to help facilitate "fun" for kids.
It also starkly reminds me of just how quickly people forget what it was like to be a kid. I don't know about you, but truthfully, I never stopped being Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. I still like to go sledding. I still would SO play a game of Super Sucker. I like watching my Saturday morning cartoons. And I still demand to play video games. About the only REAL difference between my life as a child and my life now is that I smoke and drink and chase after skirts. Alas it seems this fun has to be ordained or organized by government and MUST take place in a "park."
In any case, the larger point is the hypocrisy or inanity in demanding we "pay" for more "parks" to help fight the obesity epidemic.
For one, if you looked at where kids expend the most calories of energy it isn't at the park. It's in their neighborhood where they run and jump and play games like "Hogan's Heroes" or "Hit."
Two, "parks" are SOOOO typical of public schools where the government tries to convince kids with lame and ineffectual campaigns that no kid really believes;
"Hey Kids, it's "cool" to play on the play ground and in the park. Pete the Park Puma says "roar! playing in parks is fun!"
Smoking it's the same thing;
"Hey kids, Phillip the Frog says 'Don't smoke. Ribbit. Smoking is dumb!"
Alas, just like every other government campaign, it isn't working. I see TONS of parks, TONS of baseball diamonds, tons of beautiful volleyball sand courts, all empty, all abandoned. And the only reason I don't avail myself of those empty baseball diamonds is because I can't get enough of my lame ass adult friends to play kickball with me.
But, three, is this outright lie there isn't enough parks. Come on, I see parks all over the place. What kid doesn't have a park within walking distance (and by walking distance I mean that in 1983 terms meaning 5 miles), besides which WHAT KID PLAYS IN A PARK?
And this gets to the heart of the hypocrisy.
NO KID PLAYS IN A PARK.
Kids play with other kids and will make their environment, no matter what it is, the park. They will create and concoct various and unlimited games in whatever environment they have. And when the government or some nerdy, hypocritical non-profit organization, headed up by adults who forgot what it was like to be a kid, give them these sterile, fake, fabricated areas called "parks" no kid is going to use them.
Alas, this drive to "create more parks" is really one of two things;
1. A crusade to give worthless adults something to do with their worthless lives to make them feel like they're making a difference even though they're not.
2. Another excuse to extract money from the productive members of society to the non-productive. Lord know where the "donations" go. To help some middle aged woman repay her student loans for her psychology degree? To some guy who, despite being 48 still wears a pony tail and sits on the "parks and recreation board" because he couldn't land a real job and still lives off his parents' inheritance? Whatever the case, the children (as is typically the case...ahem...cough cough...TEACHERS UNION) are never considered.
In the meantime kids, do what Uncle Cappy Cap says and go buy yourselves some toilet plungers or have dad go buy himself a flashlight.