When we were back in Estacado preparing for the move, I made a lot of late-night trips to Walmart. Judge me if you like, but that they were open at three in the morning when almost no one else is is another great example of how convenience, not price, is their biggest selling point. I needed something from their gardening section, which was locked up, so they had me wait outside in front of the building while they got someone to open it up for me. While I was waiting, I was looking at the plastic swingsets and playground instruments sitting out front for sale.
“Ick”, I thought. “Plastic swingsets.”
Back when I was a youngster, plastic swingsets were rare. In fact, I don’t know that I knew anyone that had any. A lot of kids had swingsets and playgrounds with the back, but they were usually made of wood or a metal of some sort. Those, of course, were real playgrounds. What they build today is just crap. Crap, crap, crap.
That’s how I felt anyway, though for the life of me I can’t come up with any justification for that feeling. Or, for that matter, any feeling as to why wood-and-metal playground structures are superior to the increasingly common plastic ones. Maybe this wasn’t such a problem outside of the south, but if you tried to slide down a slide with aluminum covering and if your skin touched it, at best it will slow you down and at worst you about burn your dang skin off. There’s also splinters, of course. And longer-lasting? Maybe, but not necessarily. Metal rusts, wood rots. They use wood treatment, of course, which makes the wood last longer but of course adds various safety and environmental hazards to the equation.
Some of the things that I specifically cite not liking about them are not objectively inferior in any sense. I consider these things to be gawdy, but their colorful and children like colors. Then I try to say “These things don’t spur the imagination that building my own fort with a fridge box did! But come on, that’s pretty ridiculous. Kids can use boxes anyway and they can as easily ignore the sign above the plastic fort and make it a spaceship. I’m sure they do.
I guess I’m starting to show one of the first signs of aging, the dementia of believing that everything around me when I was growing up was authentic while these kids are stuck with consumerist plastic junk. Having grown up in the 80’s I won’t even pretend that fashion was better when I was growing up, but what the heck is wrong with these kids today and how they’re dressed?!