Bad Trend Alert: Slacklining

Even if you don’t consider yourself a well-informed person, it won’t surprise you to hear that the world’s not doing so hot. Disregard the global economy and ponder this: America’s future leaders have opted out of reality and turned into slackers. By slackers, I mean those who practice slacklining, i.e. the new Spikeball.
By Henry S. H. Shah

Even if you don’t consider yourself a well-informed person, it won’t surprise you to hear that the world’s not doing so hot. Disregard the global economy and ponder this: America’s future leaders have opted out of reality and turned into slackers. By slackers, I mean those who practice slacklining, i.e. the new Spikeball.

A MAC Quad-ready concept, slacklining is simple. Slackers (yes, that is how they self-identify) tense a nylon or polyester webbing between two anchor points and attempt to traverse a treacherous, narrow path suspended high above the ground. Some liken it to tightrope walking.

Those people are also dense. The webbing is more like an overpriced and overblown rubber band. It’s suspended to a height fit for a toddler above the soft, wet October earth. The most slackers have to fear is a muddy butt and a bruised ego.

What’s more, slackers don’t acknowledge the risk-taking cultural icons who made their faux-daredevilry possible. Slacklining continues our nation’s horrific history of maligning circus highwire artistry. You can’t ride a unicycle, cook a fried egg, or balance bowling pins on your nose while slacklining. Where is the Philippe Petit of slackers? When will there be a slacking Wallenda family, a troupe of German high-wire artists who continue to risk and lose their lives for the art’s sake?

The answer is a resounding never. It’s the Smith Campus Center of stunts: a low-stakes rebranding of a classic idea, focused at those who refuse to dream big.

Slackers claim that the lack of serious physical risk make the activity a family-friendly, pick-it-up (and then likely drop it) diversion. How many parents really want their children experimenting with this entry-level hobby? Kids may be bewitched by slackers’ facile balancing act between false danger and easy success.

Here’s a tip, parents: go big or go home. Slacklining is feeble adventure. Introduce your child to rock climbing, or better yet, bungee jumping. If little Shelley is more of a wallflower, introduce the art of calligraphy, or book illumination. Our kids should be taking a chance and shooting for the stars, not wavering a few inches above the ground on a glorified bungee cord.

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