I know what you’re thinking: what do you know about playgrounds? My counter argument: what do I know about most things I talk about? Kidding. I obviously know everything about everything. I learned some of life’s most important lessons at the playground.
If a boy is mean to you, it means he likes you. That said, if your initial interaction includes him hitting you with a toy shovel or looking up your skirt, he isn’t the right guy for you. His parents will probably deny any and all accusations. They’ll also try to blame you for trying to take his toy.
Lesson: Don’t waste your time on boys that don’t treat you respectfully, kindly and adoringly. He doesn’t deserve you. Also, sometimes parents don’t realize they made Jackholes.
Baby swings are for babies. Sure, it might be fun as a 10-year-old to squirm into the tiny bucket, but you will inevitably hurt and embarrass yourself. Even if you do make it into the swing, you will have a nightmarish time getting back out.
Lesson: you’re not the same size you were as a teenager. Those clothes are not supposed to fit. Let it go.
Swings are the funnest, most popular piece of equipment at the park. Everyone wants a turn. I loved the swings. I didn’t even like to get pushed. The freedom and power I felt pumping my legs with abandon surpassed all other playground activities. Unfortunately, all kids want swing time. So, getting your turn is all about strategy.
First, keep your eyes on the swings at all times. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been waiting to go down the slide or spinning furiously on the merry-go-round. When a swing opens up, get to it. Fast. Second, recruit your sisters or friends to help you. The more allies you have, the better. Third, if you’ve been waiting for a really long time, be aggressive. Stalk one of the swingers. Stand there and make conversation. Try to push them. If they like it, stop. If they don’t like it, push harder. Stand against the set and stare angrily as they swing. The kid will eventually get really uncomfortable and give you the swing just to get away.
Lesson: You must be ruthless to get you want. Just make sure it’s worth it.
Nothing good comes from a slide. Sure, you have some laughs plummeting to the ground, but the rules and regulations dampen the mood. No climbing up the slide. One person at a time. No hiding in a tunnel slide. Exit promptly upon landing. And even if you follow all of these rules, the slide will most likely shock you.
Lesson: Static WILL stop you.
A few other important lessons I learned at the playground include:
Make sure your friend or sister is not hurt before laughing. Then tease that person for the rest of his or her life.
Only share things with people you can easily find. Whether it’s a bucket or a dress, it’s yours.
Throwing sand, tanbark or feces from any specimen (animal or human) will not be tolerated.
Don’t talk to strangers. If your mother is trying to punish you, act like she is a stranger.