Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ball crawls and other scary stories to tell in the dark... of a McDonald's Playland.

My Song of the Day reminded me of a time in my youth when I was entrapped in a ball crawl at Liberty Park.  Once that bell rang, you had 15 minutes to jump, slide and dive through a couple thousand air filled plastic balls.  My family's enjoyment with the ball crawl instantly ended one warm afternoon in which my four year old younger brother dove in head first, only to resurface minutes later with a handful of drippy, droopy, poopy diaper. He had found his treasure. I don't believe my Mother ever let us trifle in a public, ball-filled latrine again.  Nor did I want to.  Even for a ten year old, that was extraordinarily gross and it was burnt forever into my consciousness.  

Do ball crawls even still exist?  I haven't seen a true ball crawl in years.  Remember that ginormous ball crawl in the funhouse at Lagoon?  Heaven knows what was crawling around at the bottom of that thing!  I once reached deep down into the pit and felt what I believed to be a jello mold.  As time progressed and I became more knowledgeable, I believe what I really touched was either a tub of melted down jelly bracelets or a discarded breast implant.  

My buddy once said he found ten bucks in that cesspool of plasticity.  Therefore, with every visit, I would take a deep breath and navigate the depths of the germ invested swamp.  I never found ten bucks, but I undoubtably contracted several colds and I think perhaps hepatitis B.  That reminds me, I need to be retested.  

The theory of the ball crawl is that kids will enjoy crawling around in a large vat filled with balls.  Good theory, but kids will pretty much crawl around in anything.  They could have opened a sesame seed crawl at the local park and the line would have gone around the block.  The balls just seemed the most sanitary option and kids would not be shaking seeds out of the ears days after the crawl.

The ball crawl funland has been replaced today by water playthings like the giant water ball at the zoo or the fountains at the Gateway.  I am sure this is for the best.  Parents would much rather see their snotty nosed kids touch a giant, water covered ball than see their snotty nosed kids diving head first into a group of plastic balls that are covered in the snot of a child that is not their own.   - It's the water makes it okay -  it dilutes the snot.  Plus, they must put chlorine in those things, right?

This entire discussion that I am having with myself reminds me of another story. When Lincoln was about 3 years old, he went to McDonalds with his Grandma Yospe.  While the Grandparents ordered the usual cholesterol busters, they allowed Lincoln to play in the tubes of the playland.  In a moment of desperate need, he was not able to find his way out in time and completely sticky'd the inside of a tube... with urine.  My mom said that she could see kids crawl through it while he just stood there and screamed.  Apparently, they could also see the urine just pouring out of the side of the tube.  Once Lincoln was able to navigate his way out of the maze of toddler terror, they left, food in hand.  They were not sticking around to see the fallout of that situation.  However, I am sure that the other parents were very appreciative of Lincoln's gift as their children returned to their table with sticky hands and piss stained levi knees. 


Tammy said...

Ewww Abe! Is that a true story about Lincoln?? I'd never thought of something disgusting like that happening!!!

Doesn't IKEA have a ball crawl? I'm fairly certain they do because even though I've only been there twice, the first time we left Nathan in the playland and the ball crawl was closed due to a child URINATING! However, I believe they use only one color ball for certain days and maybe that's some kind of cleaning system.

Cheeseboy said...

If my mom comes on and comments, she will confirm that that story is 100% true.

I have never been to Ikea, so I didn't know they had one. They probably have cheap, designer looking treasures at the bottom of their ball crawl.

emma said...

ball crawl--true story--except Lincoln was at the top of the slide...INSIDE of a fence. We didn't know how to get inside to clean up the wetness--or WE WOULD HAVE! We just got out of there fast! I bet it happens all the time!
Love, Mom

Tammy said...

Now that I know it's true I will say it again -

Kerianne said...

Here is a gross story to add to the mix.

A few years ago, all 4 of my kids were in the playland at Del Taco.
I will start by saying that my kids were the only ones there at the time and none of them had a cold or a runny nose of any kind.

At some point, my oldest son comes down the slide and I look at him and he has the wettest, biggest, nastiest, snottiest, booger you have ever seen going all the way down the side of his face. We were all so disgusted. We all knew that it was not his booger or any of my kids.

It cured all my children of having any desire to go on a playland ever again. The sight of it is hard to forget.

Cheeseboy said...

Kerianne - Wow!! I think we once discussed these disgusting incidents, but I had forgotten about the sliming that your son once took. Thank you for throwing it out there. It is these types of contributions to the conversation that makes this a truly superior blog. You don't get these details on just any Joe or Nancy blog out there.

Lori said...

That is one of those stories you will always remember about Lincoln. Luckily, he was with Grandma and Grandpa, so you didn't have to worry about the embarrassment!

I have one of those stories about Ashley...only it has to do with throwing up at Chuck-A-Rama. I'll have to blog it sometime! I'm sure she'll thank you for giving me the idea!

Esther said...

When we lived in Tooele (that sounds weird to say now) but when we first moved there, they were building more town homes. The kids in the neighborhood would create their own "ball crawl" with the giant dumpster the workmen left out for their mess. All the neighbors in the townhomes, and the apartments across the street were throwing their regular garbage in there too. I never saw one parent come to check on those kids. Who knows what kind of diseases they have now.

Cheeseboy said...

Esther, your story pretty much proves that yes, kids will crawl around in anything. I bet there were a fewe needles in there.

Lori, I am sure that the Chuck a Rama is chuck full of stories. Can't wait to hear yours.