John Early Is Figuring Out How to Be Sincere

As the star of the sharp new indie ‘Stress Positions,’ the irreverent comic works in a more serious vein. He tells Cracked why he’s getting comfortable with being earnest — even if he’s scared everyone will think he’s pretentious

Authors
By
Published
Comments
Comments 0

8 Pieces of Playground Equipment That Basically Violate the Geneva Convention

By:
8 Pieces of Playground Equipment That Basically Violate the Geneva Convention

As a child born in 1990, who went to a public school system that received approximately $3.50 per decade to spend as they please, Im well-versed in antiquated playground equipment. Were they fun, in a thrill-seeking sort of way? Yes. At the same time, safer playgrounds are probably a godsend for school nurses, who are no longer running a little war hospital for children who got thrown off the monkey bars.

Here are eight pieces of playground equipment with a body count…

Merry-Go-Rounds

kristinafh

No, not the giant, slow carnival rides that I assume someone, at some point, had fun on — before they just became a place to get killed in a horror movie. Instead, I’m talking about the spinning, glorified scaffolding that taught children a hard lesson about centripetal force. Maybe they assumed a group of singing kids would calmly pedal these things around, but we ended up with a vomitron that either ended up with school lunch in the wood chips, or a concussion.

Metal Slides

The pain of a metal slide during a hot day is well-trod territory, so I won’t spend too much time going back over it. Still, metal slides really needed a second round of notes before they were greenlit. On the bright side, you could use them to cauterize whatever injury you sustained on another piece of metal equipment.

The Giant Stride

Library of Congress

You may not be familiar with this one, given that the National Recreation Association recommended they be banned in 1921. Do you know how dangerous something has to be to be banned in 1921? Kids’ favorite activities in 1921 were things like pushing each other into quarries and playing tackle football on a highway. The merry-go-round’s even more dangerous big brother, the giant stride was a pole with a bunch of swings hanging off of it that kids would run and either hang off of or stand on. All the outward force of a merry-go-round, now a couple feet off the ground! Not to mention that when in motion, there were multiple metal, child-occupied tentacles whipping around like a blender blade at head-height.

Seesaws

Public Domain

There’s the prescribed image of operating a see-saw, a gentle, soft back-and-forth between two whistling children, or some sort of frog in a storybook. They’re shown as two participants floating softly up and down in turn, enjoying moments of weightlessness. The thing is, I’ve never seen one operate like this IRL. Immediately, they become a test of strength conducted over a central fulcrum — the object being either to catapult the person on the other side into a life of slight memory loss, or to slam them to the ground so hard their coccyx shoots out and hits another kid in the eye.

Jungle Gyms

Public Domain

I have nothing against jungle gyms as a bit of climbing fun. Sure, there’s a bit of a fall risk, but unless you cut down every tree in the vicinity, kids are going to find something they’re not supposed to jump off of regardless. Where the problem with jungle gyms arises, is that, as structures of enclosed metal bars, they immediately become penitentiaries, and putting a metal jungle gym into a schoolyard creates a tiny Stanford Prison Experiment designed to dehumanize children with inhalers.

Those Seated Swings

Michael Rivera

I understand these things are designed for top-heavy toddlers who aren’t capable of holding themselves vertically, but by god, were they torturous. I don’t remember my first birthday, but I have a vague memory from the blackness of crying because of the friction burns on the inside of what I would later learn were called “thighs.” Not to mention that when you’re designing something specifically for big-headed babies, you should make sure they don’t constantly flip over and drop them directly on their fontanelle.

The Small Dodgeballs

Jwoodlee3

Throwing stuff at other children is generally discouraged, which is good because otherwise the one kid with a mullet and a less-than-ideal home situation would be going Shohei Ohtani on kids’ heads with every rock he found at recess. Dodgeball, however, is the one time it’s allowed, because the balls are soft and bouncy and will leave you with a textural faceprint at worst. At least, the normal-sized ones would. But there were always sown, like seeds of chaos, a couple dodgeballs the size of a softball, at which inflation is a non-variable. Twelve cubic inches of air doesn’t do much when it’s in a ball capable of being submarined at the kid looking wistfully at the Game Boy in his backpack. Even when they missed, you could hear them whistle as they passed and took out a gym wall panel.

Pretty Much Anything, Thanks to Kids’ Minds

Pixabay

The fact is, that trying to make playgrounds safe is a fool’s errand. This is because children are little freaks put on this earth to test drive the durability of every bone in their tiny bodies. You could give them a sponge, and they’d make up a game to see who could swallow the most of it.

Scroll down for the next article

MUST READ

John Early Is Figuring Out How to Be Sincere

As the star of the sharp new indie ‘Stress Positions,’ the irreverent comic works in a more serious vein. He tells Cracked why he’s getting comfortable with being earnest — even if he’s scared everyone will think he’s pretentious

Authors
By
Published
Comments
Comments 0
Forgot Password?