Down in the Park

by Chris McGinty

If you’ll imagine a park. This park has everything. It has swings and slides. It has trails. It has a duck pond. It has chess boards and pieces that aren’t stolen. It has hopscotch and tetherball. It has everything, because I now want you to imagine that this park is not a physical park, but rather a metaphorical park where all the activities represent activities that people do to bring their ideas to life.

You wonder for a second, “Where is everybody?” No one is on the swings and slides running through the repetition of productivity. No one is exploring the foreign markets on the trails. No one is building a following at the duck pond by feeding the masses with content. No one is using the chess boards to build long term strategies. No one is taking great leaps forward at hopscotch or well-timed swings to create a near unstoppable momentum on tetherball.

You look around, and then you see them. They are sitting on the benches and at the picnic tables. They are in the thinking area, and they’re not coming out to play. This park has everything. It has way more than I listed above. Why would everyone ignore the park? It seems like it would be so much fun. You ask people why they’re sitting on the benches and at the picnic tables thinking and talking about how much fun they could have in the park, but not actually playing in the park. You get answers like these:

“I might fall off the swing and hurt myself. The slide might not be as smooth as it looks and I might have to slide a lot of times before I can enjoy it.”

“I might get lost on the trails.”

“The ducks might not like the bread I brought for them. They might find it stale, or they might have had their fill of bread already.”

“Chess takes time to learn if you want to play well, and while I’m learning I’ll look like a fool facing off against those who have already mastered Chess.”

“I might not have good enough balance to be effective at hopscotch, and tetherball is won by people who have stronger arms to capitalize on opportunities to strike.”

“Besides, the line might be long at the activity that I want to get into, and I really want to do it now.”

You look around at everyone and you say, “I thought we were here to have fun. Let’s forget about all of the excuses and go have some fun.”

And in unison they reply, “Not everybody can do that.”

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