Jeff Vrabel: All kids' things are dangerous

Jeff Vrabel

A quick word to those people who study the danger effects of monkey bars: YEP. THEY'RE DANGEROUS, and also do you guys have any openings? All you hear is awful awful no jobs no jobs, yet evidently hordes of folks can be found dedicating resources and energies to the study of the effects of the dangers of playground equipment. Seriously, if y'all need any interns or anything, particularly in the Spinny Thing Division, I am your man, at least until I throw up, which will be soonish.

Anyway, of COURSE monkey bars are dangerous! They're MONKEY BARS. Is there anything with the word monkey in front of it that isn't intrinsically dangerous? You swing on them with your hands, way up in the air, until you get halfway across, and then you hurtle to the ground because your palms and arms and face hurt. They're also dangerous when you get dared by Tim Grossman to climb across the top of them to show you're not the class' biggest nerd even though you can read five grade levels above everyone else and are really good at programming computers I am told by someone I met at a bar once who definitely didn't have plastic glasses.

Let me just go ahead and save science the trouble: Literally every kids' thing is dangerous. Earlier this year, pediatricians warned that trampolines, particularly the backyard versions that have those tall surrounding nets that make them look like some minor, third-grade version of The Thunderdome, posed a strong danger to children and should be discouraged. This was a story I saw in the July issue of Oh Really You And Your Ph.D Just Put That Together, Really? (The magazine's unwieldy name is probably the reason you haven't heard of it. Their website address is similarly a huge pain to type.)

For my oldest, monkey bars are actually not that dangerous, because I don't think I've ever seen him go across them in their commonly accepted form. He likes rather to climb to the top, and traverse the bars on their roof, as it were, rather than mess around with all that swinging and wrist-hurting. It's actually a pretty smart move. It's also RISKING ALL SORTS OF DOOM, which he does, several thousand times a day, because he's 8. Frankly I'm surprised he survives most of his walks to the bathroom. Actually seriously while I'm typing this I just saw him run into a door frame while sprinting at full blast around the house. I wonder if the helmet store is open on Sunday nights.

But it's not just the older, death-wishy one. There is also a baby now, who is proving himself uniquely skilled at regarding a room full of toys, soft blocks and books and discerning, almost immediately, where the light sockets are located. Untold amounts of kid toys in my office, and the adorable little chubb isn't satisfied until he's close to chewing on my laptop's power cord, which, in his defense, does have a pleasing strawberry aftertaste but still seems like an awful and potentially jolty idea.

To be honest, though, we've been having the most problems lately not with deathly playgrounds or electrical-thing biting but with probably the most dangerous thing around the house, which is nature. This morning, in what I hope to be a pleasingly iconic display of American Sunday-morning fathering, the boys and I went out back and found some sticks, which, of course, make a really cool swooooshing sound when you whip them through the air, no matter which father's eye socket may be in the immediate vicinity. And those were STICKS! Just LYING THERE ON THE GROUND, some of which, I might add, were quite pointy. So I'm not really sure what to do about that sort of danger, except ban nature, which would have been a lot more likely with a Romney victory. In the meantime, the boys and I will stick to the spinny things.

Jeff Vrabel's most dangerous toy as a child was that Han Solo figurine that kept bursting into flame. He can be reached at http://jeffvrabel.com or followed at http://twitter.com/jeffvrabel.