Tears and Laughter: To swing, or not to swing

There are school systems across the country beginning to remove swing sets from their schoolyards due to safety concerns and fear of lawsuits.

Some critics of the move say this decision is “ridiculously stupid” and a continuation of the growing nanny state. That we can’t make the world a perfectly safe place and are becoming a nation of weaklings. They worry that if only the strong survive, we’re done, and therefore the swings should stay.

But supporters of the swing set removal push feel the decision is worthy, that just because it is impossible to make the world a perfectly safe place to live, does not mean they shouldn’t still try.

No word yet on what will replace the swings, but I speculate it will involve soft cushions and high-speed internet.

If my parents had used the swing removal logic while I was growing up in Sandflat, I would have never listened to music after 1979.

They were big fans of music themselves and had a nice collection of albums, mostly country, that included Waylon and Willie and Hank and all the others.

And being that they enjoyed listening to music on their stereo, they also provided my brother and me with record players so that we too would develop an appreciation for music. A decision they may have later regretted there for a few years, but, none the less we shared two record players between us, one was blue and one was red.

They were the old portable box models. The lid would lift to reveal a turntable.

These played the smaller 45’s better than the larger 33s and we had figured out, the way kids have the ability to do, that the red record player had a slight short in it. And if you would touch your finger to the top right screw that held the whole thing together, it would give you a little warm tingle that would travel about up to your elbow.

It was just slight though. Nothing to notify anybody about. We used it as more of an added entertainment feature.

That was until this one night, I remember it well, when for whatever reason such a notion strikes a person, I decided I wanted to listen to Neil Diamond.

I had just washed my hair, still had the towel piled on top of my wet head…and I went over and put the needle on the record. It started spinning and Neil started singing about how money talks, but it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk.

And then, I don’t know why, but I reached over and touched that top right screw.

Fortunately, this did not kill me. But it did bring everybody in the house to my room.

My dad, a logical person, asked what had happened. And after I explained it my mother still didn’t understand what had made me touch it. My brother suggested that maybe the next time I should try it wearing rubber soled shoes.

I never got the chance though.

Thankfully they didn’t use the swing set logic and remove all the stereos from the house, but for some reason the red one did immediately go missing.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Al. Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era – https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.

The above is a column from guest contributor Amanda Walker. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The West Alabama Watchman.