Lawn Pox

Posted on May 12, 2008 

Lawn Pox

The next time you drive down a street in suburban or exurban America, pay careful attention to the yards. Lurking somewhere, either peeping out from the back or nakedly displayed right in front, some form of children’s play equipment, typically in plastic and typically in some bright primary color, will probably be splayed on the grass.

I’d like to raise just one question about this picture of domestic bliss: How often do you actually see a child playing on, or near, one of these devices?

On a recent weekend trip through a posh Connecticut suburb, the kind with moss-covered stone walls and dense canopies of mature trees, I was dismayed to find the sylvan harmony of the scene constantly disrupted by garish blights, from wavy slides to inflatable contraptions of the kind once relegated to seasonal carnivals. It was as if a McDonald’s PlayPlace—some alien, mother-ship PlayPlace—was spawning its miniaturized brood across the landscape (and simultaneously vaporizing the kids).


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