The biggest kid on the playground

Emily Eveland

Hey grown ups, I know you wanna act like little kids sometimes. I bet you wanna ask for a happy giraffe when you see the guy making animal balloons on the street corner and secretly wish to wear paper crowns on your birthdays. And you know what? It’s okay. But sometimes it’s best not to return to those happy memory makers.

Things you loved as a kid that aren’t so fun anymore:

Chuck E. Cheese

This is number one on my list because I made the mistake of going back to Chuck E. Cheese for my 16th birthday. I thought it would be super cool to return to my former favorite arcade and talked it up for weeks, hoping to inspire jealousy in my peers.

Unsurprisingly, it was a horrid experience. Chuck E. Cheese is made for very small children. The rides I used to sit in didn’t fit me anymore and when I managed to squeeze myself into the car ride next to Chuck E., I was ambushed with parental disdain.

My fond memories of Chuck E. and friends playing in their automated puppet band quickly turned to nightmares. The puppet robot animals were things of terror, literally falling apart as they played.

If you were like me and used to hide from your parents in the colorful jungle gym of tubes, you’re going to have a bad time trying it as a fully-grown adult. Ever been in a traffic jam with a stampede of three year olds? If not, venture into those tubes and then we can talk.

Oh, and if you’re going to Chuck’s for pizza, you’re better off eating Little Caesar’s out of the trash.

Skate parks

My coolness level at the skate park hasn’t changed much over the years. The first time I stood on a skateboard, the board flew out in front of me and I fell backwards onto my butt and head. Though I was in a great deal of pain, I shrugged it off and head nodded towards the cute skater boys laughing at me. Thankfully, my Pink Panther pajama pants shielded my fall for the most part.

Skate parks bleed badassery. Even five year old skater boys are intimidating — they’ll take one look at your mismatched socks and yell, “Yo that’s whack,” or something equally degrading. As a non-skating adult returning to the skate park, I definitely look out of place and possibly creepy. Even my adult friends who do skate get laughed at. Little kids and teenagers own the skateparks like meanie trolls under the bridge and, honestly, I think I can respect that.

Mini golfing

As a child, mini golf courses were the places of dreams. The Rugrats episode in which the kids ended up inside a giant ice cream cone mini golf obstacle turned into one of the greatest fantasies of my youth. Mini golf courses inspired awe in my young mind. There were so many different golf ball colors to choose from, so many glorious structures to send my golf ball through, so many beautiful ponds along the fresh green grass in which to land my ball.

I now realize that mini golf courses are really gross, really small, and really crowded. The paint on the colorful themed structures, like windmills and open frogmouths, is always chipping; the grass is made of plastic; and when your ball lands in the pond, you get to wade through cigarette butts and band-aids. Plus, mini golfers rarely know how to play golf or keep score. They may as well just throw the ball with their bare hands and yell “Bingo!”