Cancel Culture Sets its Sights on One of the South’s Iconic Toys
I still remember the day my Dad rolled into the driveway with a large tire stuck in the back of his government-issued station wagon. My Pops was a cotton research scientist and he spent the majority of his day roaming the state of Mississippi checking cotton fields for boll weevils. He also liked to frequent trash piles and dumps to look for what he called "treasure"
Often time those "treasures" were quickly relegated back to the trash by my Mom who was not so keen on the idea of "other people's junk" coming to live at our house. But the large tire was different. You see, to my Dad this was no longer a tire. It was the answer to a request that my Mom and we kids had been begging him for. This tire was going to be our swingset.
If you're of a certain age and grew up in a small town or rural part of the world you probably had a tire swing too. All you needed was an old tire, a strong rope, and a tree with a large and low enough hanging branch. All you had to add after that was imagination.
My tire swing was everything from a spaceship to a school bus to bucking bronco. I logged a lot of hours on that swing and spent many a day tilting it to the side so the water would drain out of the bottom so the mosquitoes wouldn't show up.
I guess that's why I was more than a little sad to read that tire swings are among the latest of my childhood memories to fall victim to "cancel culture". Yep, there's just something too dangerous about a tire suspended by a rope from a tree.
Lord. Help. Us. All.
Consumer watchdog groups have determined that this kind of DIY toy is not safe for several reasons. There are no guard rails. There is no safety harness, There is usually no soft padding beneath the swing. Children could get their feet caught in the tire and be suspended upside down. And, there is the potential mosquito breeding ground issue I mentioned before.
My immediate thought after reading this was, "Jeez we are raising some stupid kids who really are softer than butter left on the counter for three days". Yeah, I guess all of those things "could" happen. But not under the guidance of responsible adults.
Granted the training program to use our tire swing wasn't very long but at least my parents did explain how I could get injured if I acted "the donkey" while swinging. Those lessons of safety lasted just long enough for them to go back inside.
Still, with all the hijinx of standing on the swing, spinning on the swing, throwing each other through the swing, and trying to knock each other off the swing with a football I never required a doctor visit or trip to the Emergency Room.
Look, I am all about keeping kids safe and making sure they have safe toys to play with but I am going to stand up for my tire swing. You might disagree. And if you do, I hope your child enjoys the experience of wearing bubble wrap while under your care. Just know that when they leave home and the "bubble wrap of your overprotection" isn't there anymore, they're going to face issues a lot more painful than falling off a swing.
Keep kids safe, but help them grow up to be at least a little tough, please? Or maybe invest in a faux tire swing that comes from a store. You know the ones that come with a seat, seatbelt, airbags, and injury attorney built-in. Also make sure to install about four or five inches of mulch, rubber shavings, and My Pillow foam underneath the swing too.
Back in my day when we fell, we hit hard ground or tree roots. It obviously prevented us from growing up.
If I am wrong in your mind about this kind of toy, I will be glad to listen to your opinion on the subject and I will try not to hurt your feelings when I laugh in your face. You might want to call your Mom and see if she has some bubble wrap you can borrow.
So what else has time and temperament cancelled over the past few years? Get ready to remember.
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