how times have changed

Let us go travel back in time to when I was in the third grade, roundabouts 1985 or 1986. I fell from the top of a jungle gym in the shape of a rocket ship to land on the concrete and astroturf below. I cracked my poor little skull on the ground. I told a teacher what I’d done and in character with his usually unsympathetic attitude, his solution was for me to go and put my head down on the picnic table, which I did.

Recess passed. I returned to my classroom where my teacher proceeded to read us a book with pictures. After a while of not being able to see the book through the colored blotchies (red, blue, green, I remember them well, surprisingly enough), I requested to go to the nurse. She called my mother. My mother took me to the doctor. He looked me over, told her to not let me go to sleep and sent us on our merry way.

This brings me to the how the times change part of my post. First, the dangerous playground equipment. A tall structure for climbing over concrete and some thin carpet painted green. Someone thought that was a good idea? These days, kids have squishy mats to land on under their playground equipment.

Second, the uncaring teacher. That is so deliciously retro. I mean, what the heck did a girl have to do to get some medical attention? Cut off an arm? I couldn’t see, for the love of God. Third, no emergency room? If my child had suffered a head injury and couldn’t see through the colored blotchies, there would have been some emergency room action. But those were different times and I am not blaming my mom for anything. Fourth, there was no talk of lawsuit as far as I know. If that had happened nowadays, there would have been some litigation. Kids are going to fall no matter what you do. What they land on is the responsibility of the school.

Evaluating this situation 23 years later, I have determined that I am lucky to be alive. And I’m glad that my kids play on equipment with squishy mats under it.

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