Damaged or Delighted?

Why broken bones can be a good thing for a kid.You know the world’s going to hell in a hand-basket when you can’t even sit at the park, trying to drown out the cacophony of your ennui by listening to your iPod in peace while your kid rides her bike.

One minute I’m feeling old while listening to the Arctic Monkeys, practically mouth-vomiting whilst cleaning my purse of the barley chaff that spilled out from the container of 2 dozen meal worms I bought to feed The Little Nutball’s pets (who are writhing in their clear plastic container, next to me on the bench), the next, I’m receiving hand gestures from a grandma in elastic waist khakis, indicating she wants me to help her run alongside our two kids, who are circling a track on their bikes. In the park. With helmets on. On training wheel bedecked bikes. WTF?

I turned away and sure enough my kid fell off hers, but who cares? It’s a park, right? She’s supposed to fall, occasionally. That’s how they pick up their, ah, mad skills, in climbing, running, fence-hopping, and cycling, no?

The delight kids take in their pratfalls came into relief when my partner got home. During yard duty that afternoon (he’s a teacher), he came across some boys he’d taught in grade 3, now in grade 7 or 8. One had a broken nose and looked like Roman Polanski in Chinatown, with a giant nose bandage, and the other looked like the personification of a punchline in a joke, hobbling over with, get this: two broken wrists and a broken pelvis! (Who knew you could walk with a broken pelvis. Well, you can!).

The boys were absolutely thrilled to be able to recount their tale, which involved stringing up a 10-foot-high Zipline in one’s backyard. Apparently a group of them were hanging out together and the Zipline collapsed when the overenthusiastic duo tried to go on at the same time. I think if I were a 12-year-old boy, getting injured in a collapsing Zipline incident of my own making would be a thrill beyond compare. (As opposed to say, getting injured due to faulty playground equipment or a careless driver, obviously.) Now they have a story they’ll love milking through high school and beyond.

Awesome, in a period of vacuum-sealed-for-protection childhoods, don’t you think?

And next time, when they’re zip-lining in their backyards, they’ll know what not to do. If there is a next time. From a litigious perspective, I shudder for the parents on whose property this happened.