Monday, February 15, 2016

Monkey Bars and Broken Arms

Have you seen this quote?

Or more commonly, this quote?

It's a nice sentiment, and it makes a great metaphor.

Unless you've broken your arm on the monkey bars by letting go.

I was five and in Kindergarten. Back then we had year round school, so even though it was summer, I still had school. I was on a picnic with my best friend Derek and my mom. Derek and I had spent the first part of the picnic climbing the tallest tree we could. (It became a climbing competition. I'm somewhat competitive, and he's adventurous. He wanted to go to the top, and I wanted to be higher up than he was. On our way back down, I fell. But that isn't what broke my arm.)

After falling, and eating more sandwiches, we played on the playground. I can't remember if we were playing a game, or just running around, but I wanted to attempt the monkey bars.

Let's take ten seconds and remember how small I was:

I'm the one with the bow.

On average, I think I could probably lay between monkey bars and fall through. I probably should not have been on them. But I wasn't one for sitting out.

I completed the monkey bars, all by myself. It was a five foot journey of a lifetime. My little feet touched the landing platform and I was pumped! I totally nailed those!

My triumph didn't last long. Out of nowhere, this kid at least five times my size (probably a second-grader) shot out of the tunnel and bumped into me. (I say bumped, but he kind of was less like bumper cars and more like a freeway collision.) I tumbled off the oh-so-tall platform and landed on my back. I'd have said flat on my back, but I wasn't flat. My arm landed under me.

The picnic was over. And so were my days on the monkey bars.

Later that day, I got an X-ray and a cast. It put a damper on my summer fun, and on learning to write the letter K in school. (It's alright. I can write the letter K just fine now.)

The monkey bar metaphor can be extended from just letting go in order to go forward to once you land, someone will always be there to push you back down.

It's true. Moving forward is harder when you know what's coming. If what's ahead is a bigger kid who carelessly flies out at you, ruining your summer, then why would you ever want to move forward?

I'm sure there's an even longer metaphor in here somewhere. It could tie into the getting knocked down metaphor (you know, the one where you get back up). Or maybe it's a metaphor about the other kid, the one who pushed me. (I wonder if he/she is writing a blog about the time he/she pushed a kid and nearly killed her.) Or maybe it's about moms (it was a mom, after all, that scooped me up when I fell). Or maybe there is no metaphor and people really shouldn't be on monkey bars ever. (I'll start a petition later to have all monkey bars removed because one time 10 years ago, I broke my arm on them. Please sign and share.)

This has been a Seinfeld post, and really has no where to go. I feel there needs to be a moral, so here's one: Don't be the kid at the end who carelessly pushes someone else off. You don't know what they went through earlier (they might have fallen out of a metaphorical tree). There's a quote about being kind because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. It's like that. Someone may have just completed the monkey bars for the first time by themselves, be careful and try not to plow them down with your own life. (But if you do knock them down, definitely grab your mom so she can pick them up.)

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