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Summit Up

Scott BullockGarth in Paradise

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column wishing the school district would, instead of debating exactly how to remodel the elementary Funground, just bring back the playground toys we used to enjoy – as much as the Marquis de Sade enjoyed his torture chamber, anyway.Because, you see, an elementary school playground isn’t so much about being safe while giggling and saying, “Wheee!,” as it is about getting medieval on your classmates’ @$$es.

For those who haven’t been following the news, that monster of a playground outside Frisco Elementary is going to get torn down. Not to worry, though: They’re going to rebuild it, pretty much the same, out of more environmentally friendly materials (those creosote-soaked wood timbers need to be restained all the time, and the wood tends to give kids splinters).This is just a shame if you ask us. See, the problem with kids these days (in addition to the mollification that a touchy-feely public school education gives ’em) is that they: A) just aren’t tough enough anymore, and 2) don’t have enough respect for what a fragile form this mortal coil is.While you might want to blame violent video games and obscene rap music for this, you’re wrong. It’s really because they don’t get hurt enough on the playground.

Now, when we were youngins, recess was a life or death affair. Simply put, there was no guarantee you were coming back. Yes, this was partly because we went to school at a time when there were no “bully-proofing, character-building” programs. There were bullies, and they were big and enjoyed seeing you squirm, cry and beg for mercy. This did, however, give us our first lesson in political science; only later would we come to know it as Machiavellian. More dangerous than that, though, were the toys and games we were supposed to play on. For instance, we had a merry-go-round. We usually took to the merry-go-round while demonstrating one of those political science lessons (“He who runs away lives to fight another day”), because we could hide in the center behind the blur of all the other (vomiting) children.

And the best part of all on the old-time playground: Everything was covered in asphalt. No woodchips to soften the landing as you leap from the swing set at full apogee. No rubber mats to caress you as you hit the ground after getting knocked out by the Mach-speed tether ball smacking you in the face. No sand – even in the sandbox – for you to squish between your toes.***We’re out teaching the kids to play with fireworks …

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