June 2, 2010
Done something lately that you’re too old to do? Where does it hurt?
The thing goes by its full official name because the usual term – Slip N Slide® -- is, in fact, a registered trademark of Wham-O, Inc. Knock-offs galore, but the slides are clones, long sheets of plastic with built-in sprinklers to wet the surface for super slickness and kids can run, flop down and belly-slide one end to the other.
Could be childhood deprivation – never had one of my own – that caused me to flog a slide to our seven-year-old as the best possible thing to buy for entertaining her favorite five-year-old boy, coming over with his folks for a Memorial Day cookout. The 16-foot standard length seemed inadequate, so I bought two to link them. Longer equals funner, no? Even if not, a dad digs overkill.
After setup in the yard, GC yelled that the 32-foot rig was “awesome!” But then she couldn’t bring herself to run up and launch horizontally onto the slide.
For the sake of our only daughter, I demonstrated slide use, still in my going-to-the-toy-store clothes. A repeat with more oomph and got respectable speed and distance, which caused GC to start screaming that Mommie had to try. Minerva put on her swimsuit and did some nice sliding with a smooth, low-angle style of launch that minimized body-ground impact. I changed into trunks and a speedy nylon t-shirt. Family slide party!
Somewhere in here Girl Child started sliding. And my back hailed me on the pain channel and said this was really stupid. Did I listen? Hah! After more sliding with our five-year-old guest, my back screamed that I would get what I deserve.
Not to exaggerate, today I mostly feel stiffness and some spinal twinges and twangs. Familiar symptoms of overdoing, actually. Still, I should have listened to the bod. Stupid. And it could have been worse.
Just took a Google trip to hell, discovering that grownups have, in fact, suffered catastrophic slippery slide injuries. So, at any rate, warned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in a bulletin put out way back in 1993. To quote…
(The) slides are designed for use by children only...Because of their weight and height, adults and teenagers who dive onto the water slide may hit and abruptly stop in such a way that could cause permanent spinal cord injury, resulting in quadriplegia or paraplegia. The slider's forward momentum drives the body into the neck and compresses the spinal cord.
Ouchie mama. The CPSC cited a report that seven adults had, in fact, suffered neck injuries and varying degrees of paralysis. God only knows what has happened since 1993.
Banzai® tried to tell me. Right on the box it says nobody under 5 or over 12 years old should slide. But who reads safety stuff? It spoils the fun.
Do tell, parent, what age-inappropriate idiocy have you committed lately? At what cost to self?
Caution: May cause embarrassing weepiness. Listen alone, first time, maybe all the time if you're susceptible to fatherly sentiment in this classic weeper about the kid growing up and -- why not just kill me-- going away. Loggins, whatever you think of the rest of his oeuvre, works it but good. Those who don't get choked up should be closely monitored, if not locked up, 'cause they're stone cold psychopaths.