This Used To Be My Playground
by Rob Cottignies
As you all know, your local park is full of danger. This should come as no surprise in these increasingly violent times of criminality. These drug dealers deal their drugs in parks. These teenagers throw “park parties” with their beer balls. And then there’s the truly frightening threat of awful little dogs on *illegally* too-long leashes, but we’ll get to them in a bit.
There is a park right by my house and in it I like to run, in-line skate, and ride my bike. I go fast because I’m awesome, though I should revise that to say I like to go fast but oftentimes the pathway is more of an obstacle course than a route of exercise. Every time I do one of these precious activities, some form of terror presents itself in my path. This danger monster may come in any form. Below is a list of some of these creatures who could really use a lesson in proper park etiquette and should stay out of harm’s way. Of course, by that, I mean they should stay out of my way, because I would like to harm them…
Human beings under twelve years of age should have to wear collars around their necks or at least be harnessed in some way. You’ve probably seen parents with their kids on “leashes” and thought something irrational like, ‘Oh isn’t that terrible?’ No, it is not terrible. Ask some of these “bad” parents how many times their child has been run into by a roller-skater. I’ll save you the trouble- the answer is always zero. Anyway, these harnesses should be attached to leashes no more than six feet in length- the same length that the LAW states is the limit for dogs. At the ends of these leashes would be the parent or guardian, who I often blame more than their reckless offspring because they are not paying attention. You know what will get the parent’s attention? A loud smash followed by a screaming bloody child. And laughter.
Children don't know how to do anything on their own. They love to stare as I whip by them with my blazing man-speed. I can usually navigate around a lone child but even that can be tricky when the brainless creature decides to move directly into my path for no reason even though it blatantly sees me coming. Every time a kid gets in my way, I obviously think about running it over, especially since the odds are I would make a clean getaway. The only downfall to this, of course, is that I couldn't go back to the park for a while. With my flashy exercise clothing and stylish demeanor, I'd be easily recognized. What would I do, go to a different park? There are probably children at other parks. And I'd probably be just as tempted to run them over. It would turn into a vicious cycle. Keep your kids in check, would you?
Instance: While skating, I came around a corner to see a gross woman standing on the left side of the path, looking in my direction. On the right side of the path was a young child, standing there useless as ever. Between them was a slightly older child, spinning in a circle while holding a three-foot branch. The older child was clearly the threat. Had he been tethered, he would have spun around so many times that the leash would have choked him. This is how one learns. Instead, I had to come to a complete stop (which I’m terrible at doing on skates) and stare at the gross woman until she told her spinning mutant kid to let me pass. I’d like to see her on a leash as well. A leash draped over a fence in a matter so she can’t reach the ground. Dangling. Asphyxiation. Know what I mean?
As I mentioned earlier, little dogs are awful. One debate constantly flows through my head: Which is worse- cats or little dogs? I mean, cats are cats and that's just atrocious. There are plenty of real-sized awesome dogs but little ones are really bad, except for a certain Jack Russell with an underbite who is The King. Should all other little dogs be penalized more than cats because they could be awesome big dogs but they choose to be yippy things with short, stupid legs? Yes.
This article's reason for disliking little dogs is because they all think they're super-tough. They're not. They're dumb. If I saw a creature twenty times my size hurdling toward me, I'd move as far away as possible and keep quiet. That's smart. But these stick-legged idiots often decide to start yipping and try to bite my wheels. Don’t they know anything about basic Physics and the laws of motion, let alone mass displacement and the fact that I could easily snap their necks apart by running them over, resulting in little dog death? At the very least, my hot skate wheels would burn their horrible mouths. Imbeciles.
And get these wretched morons on regulation leashes. So many times I’ve almost crashed because some small jerk dog whose owner is ten feet off the path comes running into my way. There are signs posted in the park that state a dog’s leash can be no longer than six feet. I found out that this is an actual law straight from the Bergen County Director of Parks. You can and should get fined for violating this law. I think you should be thrown into prison for a year.
Your first mistake was thinking that a Pekingese is a real dog. Your second was putting the thing on a leash and bring it out into public. And do you think this applies to all dogs? I have *NEVER* encountered this situation with a Boxer or German Shepherd or any other awesome dog of an awesome size. So there.
Instance: While riding my bike, I witnessed a large woman barrel onto the path in front of me with her stupid bite-sized dog on a too-long leash. I slowed, shouted “On your left” to deaf ears and attempted to glide past them. The dog realized I was there just in time to snap at my huge tires like a fool. I wanted to run it over but my reflexes made me veer off the path and into a trash can. I stared imaginary daggers at the woman while she made sure her precious idiot was not harmed. “Are you serious?” I shouted as she continued walking, ignoring me the entire time. At that, some nosy middle-aged white schmuck in a polo shirt decided to scream at me. “Why don’t you ride on the bike path?” he yelled. Being that I was already on the bike path and had been until the runt forced me off, I went on my way, content that I scared the horrid dog and feeling a little sorry for a man I can only assume has a severe mental defect.
Okay: Parents and children- check. Little dog lovers- check. Who else is horrible and dangerous?
Have you ever seen someone who clearly is just learning how to skate? When I say skate, I mean in-line skate. Rollerblade is a company, not an activity. And ice skating poses its own terrifying and entirely separate threats. Anyway, if you’ve ever been to a park, I’m certain you’ve seen new skaters. And seen them, and seen them, and seen them. This is because they DO NOT MOVE. They STEP two inches then get driven back by the mighty force of Gravity. And they do this with both arms fully extended outward. And there’s always some bozo next to this new skater saying ‘You’re doing great!’ and other misleadingly encouraging things. Also, there is the risk that this new skater, at any time, could fall and sprawl across the entire path. So what do you do when you’re behind one of these? You can announce that you’re coming but the new skater cannot move out of your way. Nope, he or she will awkwardly stand in the middle of everything like a fly drowning in urine. Like a what!?
Anyway, the best way to avoid one of these is to just turn around. My park path is a figure 8 so going the other way usually solves this issue. If your park is not a figure 8, well, come to my park. But stay out of my way.
I love Canada but they should really take back their brown birds. These evolutionary failures waddle all over parks and they crap all over pathways. They have large wings but choose to walk around…………slowly. Their eyesight must be horrible because they never move out of the way when a much bigger creature is coming directly toward them. And forget about trying to get past them when they have horrible goslings around. They hiss because they think they’re snakes since their necks are long and slender. Wouldn’t it be fun if you could kick a goose in the head and it would just bounce back and forth like a spring in cartoons?
Does Nature really need geese? Is there an ecosystem that heavily depends on the goose? I’m not saying they should all be destroyed but they should all be destroyed.
Why do Spanish people take their entire extended families with them when they go for a walk in the park? There’s never less than a dozen and they scatter all over the place. This is not a racist thing. This is what happens. Plus, I’m half-Spanish so screw you both ways. And no, I don’t bring half of my family when I go to the park. You’re hilarious. What’s peculiar is that these families never do the same activity. There’ll be two older folks walking slowly, a parent trying to grab a kid riding away on a tricycle, a teenager dribbling a soccer ball. And there’s always one family member screaming into a cell phone so loudly that the heavy metal in my earphones gets muted. Sometimes I will see one Spanish guy casually jogging and think, ‘Wow, a single Spanish guy casually jogging.’ But in a line behind him, Enrique, Consuela, little Hector, and even Abuelita are also jogging in a sort-of effort to keep up with the first señor.
Go watch Jai Alai.
The Impassible Obstacle
I was once skating in the park when I came upon a scenario which could not be defeated. A middle-aged man was talking on his phone while *sitting* in the middle of the pathway. His two children were on either side of him, running amok and dropping things on the ground. Also on either side of him were two horrible small dogs, each on an illegal 20-foot leash. There might as well have been a concrete wall in my way. Like the woman with the branch-spinning kid, I stopped in front of this disaster area and stared. The guy was facing my direction, by the way. Oblivious. In my friendliest voice, I exclaimed something like, “You have to get your mess of a family off of the path.” Without a word, he slowly stood up. He moved to one side, though his kids and fully-extended dog leashes remained. I continued my stare. In a feeble attempt to prove he was not completely brain dead, he pulled one dog to the side. Mind you, the other one was still in the way and the kids were running around at will. I don’t know Sign Language, but I tried my best to physically say, ‘Wow, do I hate you. I hate your kids. I hate your dogs. I hate your parents for bringing you into this world and keeping you alive. I hate whomever you’re speaking with on the phone. Please, I beg you, in the sweet name of sanity, remove your wretched self from this area and take your dependants with you.’ He got the idea but it took no less than six-hundred hours for them all to move. To spite him, I waited the entire time.
Dishonorable mention goes to- Old people who converse in the middle of the path, Two women pushing strollers, and Indian men who walk on the wrong side and refuse to move.
For people who don’t exercise, walking in the park should be like driving. Also, shame on you for not exercising. Make sure your children are buckled in and keep your eyes on them at all times. Restrain your dogs so they don’t fly out the window. Look behind you somewhat frequently. And stay to the right. This isn’t wrong-side-of-the-street horrible Australia. I’m at the point where I’m going to start taking people out, one by one, child by child, wretched little dog by wretched little dog, until some common park etiquette is realized and practiced.
I know this will not happen, so I cannot thank you in advance. You’ve been warned.