There was always that one kid.
He was the kid who would try anything, especially if it involved at least a little danger. And back when I was a kid, a lot of things were dangerous.
First off, our parents told us to go outside and play – even when it was 115 degrees. Even when we planned on shooting at each other with BB guns.
“See you when the sun goes down,” mom would say. And I couldn’t have been happier.
Our parents did anything but hover over us. There were no arranged play dates, or organized “events” for us. It was go out, find your buddies and make some mischief.
Mike was always good for that because he always had some contraption that would get us certainly hurt, and possibly really hurt. Thankfully, it was usually short of being maimed for life.
For example, he had stilts that we all used to try. And when I say try, what I really me is use for about two steps and then tumble to the ground. And by ground, I mean the road.
Mike had nice store-bought stilts. He could walk around on them for hours. I decided to build my own, so I went in the backyard and rummaged through my dad’s wood pile. Every dad has a wood pile, right? After finding the suitable lumber and banging some rudimentary stilts together with rusty nails, I proceeded to fall all over the yard, driveway and street in an attempt to walk on those things. My mom barely noticed, of course. But my older brother did, and after a good mocking got up on my wobbly stilts and walked all over the place.
What a jerk.
Mike was also the master of the pogo stick, and that is why I have been thinking about this. I read recently that a Sweden-based startup company is planning to “deploy” hundreds of pogo sticks in certain U.S. cities. The thought of young professionals trying to use a pogo stick to navigate American cities is enough to make me want to go into the insurance business.
Yes, this is just a bad idea. Why? Because using a pogo stick is hard. Very, very hard. When I would watch Mike pogo around like a fool back in 1973, it looked easy. Then I tried and nearly broke every bone in my body.
It is not easy.
Unless you are Mike.
In fact, I can’t remember any of my friends in the neighborhood being very good at using the pogo stick besides Mike. So, some millennial with a man bun who still talks to his mom twice a day and went to a vegan pre-school is going to suddenly jump on a pogo stick to go grab sushi with his friends?
Honestly, I would love to see it. It will be carnage. Grown men and women will be crying in the streets of San Francisco and Dallas and New York and wherever they drop these bouncing devil sticks.
I myself am now focused on my own startup that will bring stilts to select cities across the U.S. After that launch, it will be go carts that adults can ride to the new lawn dart leagues I plan to start.
Listen, this is a generation of people who would bruise their fingers using a rotary phone. Are we really going to trust them with pogo sticks?