Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Trampoline

We got the kids a trampoline for Christmas this year.

I have several recommendations for parents thinking of taking the plunge, so to speak. Here’s the first: don’t buy a trampoline at Christmas. You see, when you buy a trampoline, your kids will want to jump on it. That means you have to assemble it. Unfortunately, five hours of backbreaking work manipulating large metal poles in the freezing cold is excruciating. If you value your fingers at all, buy a trampoline in the summertime.

That being said, here’s my second recommendation: get one. Trampolines are enormously fun, and, as it turns out, they’re as intoxicating to the teen and ‘tweener brain as Call of Duty Black Ops II. For those of you yearning to get your brood out of the basement and into the wild, this is a very good solution.

My third recommendation is to jump on it yourself. There’s a reason your kids like it so much. It makes you feel like a kid. Okay, maybe it doesn’t make your kids feel like a kid, but it will make you feel like one. This is a vastly underrated pastime, feeling like a kid.

I know of three or four ways to feel really good. As the beneficiary of several complicated surgeries over the last several years, I have come to know that pleasure can be had with several different pharmaceutical products. Using these products regularly, in the absence of some medical need, is dangerous though. They can lull you into a very false sense of security.

This being a family site, I’ll use a couple of the many euphemisms for the second method of achieving bliss. Here are a few of my favorites: bananas ‘n cream; varnish one’s cane; put the tool in the shed. You get the idea.

Another way is to amp up the adrenaline by doing something considerably more dangerous than your station in life would suggest prudent, like base jumping, or trying to outrun the police to avoid a ticket. I don’t recommend these methods.

Thankfully, it is possible to achieve childlike levels of happiness in other ways, where the adrenaline is high enough, but there are no mortal risks involved, and where it sometimes becomes impossible to stop giggling or laughing out loud because of the sheer freakishness of your situation. In short, you feel like a kid. The trampoline is a really good way to get there.

Of course, there are downsides to the trampoline. To get the full effect, you really should jump high. Unfortunately, as you come down and hit the trampoline, the g-forces start to build. Depending on how high you went, by the time you really get to the bottom of the jump, where the springs are stretched to their breaking point, the force can become quite concerning. When I was young, I never worried about whether my joints fit together tightly. Now, I can’t help but feel like I'm about to end up just a pile of jumbled bones and flesh resting on the canvas.

And that’s not even the worst part. What happens outside the skeleton is much more disturbing. Anything that’s not nailed down tightly is subject to this downward force. Any excess skin or fat, however slight, becomes instantly noticeable for its g-force-powered sag. I didn’t even know I had man-boobs. I pride myself on my fitness, if not my leanness, and was horrified to make this startling discovery.

Having made the discovery, though, it might just propel me to new heights of healthy eating and vigorous exercising. Either that or I’ll have to give up the trampoline. Bliss, they say, can also be had by ignorance.

Check back - I’ll post some pictures or videos of the kids flipping (and me wiping out).

Oh, and if you have any funny euphemisms for you know what, leave them in the comment section below. I just did.