Death of the Playground 

 Kids of the 70’s would wreak ass-kickery over these weepy whiners we have as kids today. Not all mind you, but the vast majorities are in serious need of a backbone.  The kids I grew up with knew pain, stitches, and scabs—Hell, we invented vert (called a ramp back then), and survivor began as another of our brainstorms, “The Backyard Campout”.

These were the tools used during the summer that kept us in shape all year round.


In the 60’s and 70’s if you couldn’t ride it (without helmets and pads), climb it, tackle it, swim in it, build it, shoot it—It plain wasn’t worth doing. 

Today’s kids are more upset because they’re not accepted in the newest, coolest online Goth chat.  Kid’s in that era did without and survived a decade where gas was rationed, no vacations, a lot of Salisbury steak, meatloaf, gravy, bread, and we were never fat…ever. If you were fat then, you got made fun of. Today there’s just too many to do that. 

In the 70’s we played outside all day—not a few hours—I’m talking all day long and had to be threatened by parents to finally get back in the house—sometime well after dark and had to be examined for ticks before bath and bed.  

Today, kids leave the house to get a burger, then leave again to hit the mall. 

In the 70’s we made our own weapons and built forts. Today they open chat rooms and hate everything. Whatever happened to part time jobs?  Back then you knew times were hard, so you didn’t ask for extra’s and learned to get by without complaining about it.  We never avoided rain; we played in it, and snow days were made for fun, not to be locked away inside. Summer vacations were three months of every day adventures, chores, chiggers and ticks.

Our generation went astray when the playgrounds eroded into a yuppie wasteland of saw dust filled fairy tales. Playgrounds were a rite of passage then, a survival of the fittest for future generations. Not today and here’s where the crevice lies—they’re all gone.


What happened to our alpha-male making playgrounds?



We had a device known as the Teeter-Totter, which saw daily drop and launch episodes resulting in plaster of Paris covered limbs. This came from a time when kids were revered by how many scrawled names they could acquire on their cast. Often referred to as the fat-kid’s revenge—Husky to our politically correct readers—and I have seen it many times used as a means to launch the class midget into space.  

Monkey Bars  

So what if cracked heads and a few thousand stitches resulted from this gem, was that any reason to banish this classic piece? Monkey bars were the learning curve of the urban playground scene. You learned crying made you a sissy, scabs made you tough, and gravity’s a bitch if you were to fat to hang on.


Slides today don’t measure up like they used to. Slides must be a minimum height of twenty feet, solid metal with steps respective to the overall elevation of the model, and then sunk 3-feet into a bubbling, gum and cigarette butt stained asphalt surface. Ladies will remember this mid-July, shimmering hot, short pants horror of summertime melted skin. The sound of screeching flesh still haunts my ears, and you best hit the ground running with both feet once the 90-degree angle spat you out. Asphalt is the most unforgiving flesh disfigurer invented by man. 

Lawn Darts  

How about this classic piece? Take sharpened dart, attach aero-dynamic wings, walk backwards 20-feet, and then toss in the direction of your asshole cousin Billy’s feet. I think there were a few other parts—something about a plastic set of rings—anyway it ended up in an asswhipping and another scar. Not to mention a whole assortment of punishments handed down by Nazi parents to include yard work, splitting wood, cleaning garages, taking out garbage, etc.

Bikes, Ramps,
and Skateboards 

Bikes, ramps, skateboards, even stunts deemed to dangerous. We did that shit barefooted with no shin guards, elbow pads, knee pads, or helmet. We did our stunts flat out and stayed scabby for it throughout the summer months. The first week of the new school year was a rehash of scars, broken bones, and feats of physical dexterity unmatched in today’s times.


Umbrellas and Rooftops  

I don’t think at this point we need to investigate this wonderful deployment of sheer genius. I do recall a gangly kid who once attempted this pre-youtube feat of idiocy. He ended up with one leg and foot normal size, while the other looked something compared to a baby’s pudgy arm with tiny midget-like toes sticking out. He finally had to buy a “special” shoe with a mounted contraption resembling a Goodyear tire glued to the bottom of the midget-leg side. He still managed to run a 4.4 second 40-yard dash, and all state halfback his sophomore year.

Merry Go-Rounds  

The greatest gravity death disc known to earth, and for the children reading this, we learned about science and the effects of centrifugal force the old fashioned way. Place the smaller bullied children in the center, and then spin the “Satan Sphere” until said kids fly off into the air’s gaping jaws of gravity.


Wham-O toys and other skull busting spawn of debauchery. “Wham-O” was the end result of trying out these handy backyard gimp-gadgets (along with six stitches and missing teeth). Everyone knew at least one kid with a chipped-in-half front tooth from a Wham-O Frisbee toss.  



The wonderful joys of winter time and being in a full body cast during Christmas because you uttered the final words, “You think that’s something, well, watch this shit!”

Thus, with those words out, the end result was pain, followed by the astonished gasps, “Someone help me up, find my leg, and PLEASE don’t tell Mom!”


Every Ski Resort across this vast land of ours was first utilized by the sled runs we carved.


How the hell do you think the Olympics came up with Bobsledding? How do you think the Winter X-Games came to be? Just remember the next time you watch “Jackass” on MTV, we did it first. We had no video cameras then—but rest assured—Johnny Knoxville wasn’t the first kid riding down a hill in a run away grocery cart.


To the kid’s of that generation, anything with “queer” in it meant you didn’t have enough people for a football game, so you played “smear the queer”.  Today it means letting four guys punk me on television for free furniture and colorful clothes.

Thanks but I’m going to pass, I may walk a little slower but I still get there—eventually.


Uncle Buck