The keys to a happy, healthy childhood
The headline read: Come one, come all, grab them while they last! It’s the world’s Super Duper, Triple-Quad-ripple, Tons of Fun, Maintenance free playground.
“Maintenance free?” It was too good to be true—a playground owner’s dream. I bought four of them. I didn’t buy them because they were “Super Duper” or because they were “Triple-Quad-ripple.” I didn’t buy because they were “Honey-Buns” or “Tons of Fun.” Of course, I bought them because they were “Maintenance-Free.” Yeah, maintenance for free, that’s the life. I felt like I had landed on the mother lode. The list of things I wouldn’t have to concern myself with anymore. I leaned back in my desk chair to daydream about all the things that will no longer be my responsibility.
No more replacing broken parts. No more checking for the wear and tear created by daily use of the play equipment. No more replacing broken and worn parks. No more worries about the reliability and dependability of the contractor or his installer who built the equipment. No more of those surfacing headaches like topping off loose fill surfacing or buying and replacing worn rubber tiles. No more head injury criteria or impact attenuation thoughts cluttering my brain.
I take a deep breath as I stretch and lean back even further in my chair. Then it hits me. With all the money and time I’ll save, I could buy a time saving, maintenance free playground for all our parks.
That’s the life. No more checking for vandalism, or removing paint from the bubble panels. No more picking up after teenagers who so conveniently use the playground as a garbage dump. No more washing soda pop out of the tube slide. I won’t have to spray for insects. No more cleaning up after Fido. Yes, life is good!
“Hey, wait a minute,” I think as I rest my chair back down on all fours. Some not-so-great things pop into my head. No more spending time at the park listening to kids shout, scream, and laugh? No more interaction with my neighbors and town folk? No more learning what I can do to make my next playground project even better than this one? No more sense of the value of play? Even worse, what will I do all day?
Ok, so “maintenance free” does have its downside, but I dismiss these thoughts, lean back on my desk chair again, put my boots up on the desk and continue my self-talk about maintenance free and how good life will be. Just think, no more inspection reports or documentations. No more worrying about risk management or safety awareness.
My office door flings open. I fall backward in my chair barely catching my fall. “ Hey Curtis, aren’t you working today?” It’s Gary, my grounds assistant. I come back to earth and try to regain my composure, “Not today; I’m just waiting for the free maintenance man to show up. Boy, he’s going to make our jobs easier from now on.”
Gary gets a good laugh at my expense, “Did you say ‘free.’ Everybody knows there is no such thing as “maintenance free.”
Darn, the daydream was good while it lasted. I put on my hat and gloves. Gary throws me the keys and we get in the truck and get back to work.