The kids absolutely love a playground and we are lucky enough to have one in our neighborhood. It’s a frequent outing on weekend mornings: plop them in the jogging stroller and head down to the playground a mile from our house. We stay and play for a while and then head back home. Everybody gets outside, everybody gets some exercise, everybody wins.

Except yesterday, when we got there to find that the gate had broken and been zip-tied shut. It’s the kind of gate that takes an ID card to open (the playground is for HOA members only, which 🙄), and it seemed like when the mechanism broke, rather than leave it open and available to everyone, someone decided to shut it completely and prevent ANYONE from getting in. (Sure, we could “just” cut the zip ties, but who carries scissors to the playground?)

I hate this attitude and it’s not the first time I’ve encountered it with our HOA. We’re constantly hearing about how people who don’t even live in our neighborhood want to come use our pool and playground. Allegedly, people try to “jump the fence” on the reg. I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard our HOA president promising to build a wall around the neighborhood soon slash claiming it will be paid for by the less affluent neighborhood to the south.

So anyway, we of course had two very broken-hearted toddlers in our hands who cried the entire walk home, L wailing repeatedly, “ow-SHIIIIDE! ow-SHIIIIDE!” It was little consolation to his soul to be told that, although we were not at the playground, we were still technically outside.

And that is how today, when it started pouring down rain just as we arrived at a public park (not taking chances with our neighborhood playground again), we wound up at the McDonald’s PlayPlace — you can bet we were not going to break those children’s hearts again. You want to slide? You are god damned getting to slide. And mama is buying some warm chocolate chip cookies and a giant Diet Coke.

"neologism": not a neologism

You know what I hate? Fake neologisms. You know, when someone uses a word they haven’t used before, and they think they have made it up, so to preempt any comments, they say something like “yes, I know that isn’t a word”? Only it really is a word and they are too ignorant to know that and/or to arrogant to look it up in the dictionary? That thing? I hate that.

"Oops, it's a shrug;" A discursive phenomenon in all caps.

What is the deal with shrugs, anyway?  It has the potential for full-fledged sweaterdom, but it’s as if someone ran out of yarn halfway through.  “Oops, it’s a shrug,” they probably said.  “I’m sure some fool will buy it.”  And the next thing you know, all the girls at the mall are wearing little sweaters that keep their boobs warm while unflatteringly presenting their bellies to the world all “Hey, look at my belly!  Also, doesn’t this shrug make me look adorably foreshortened?”

People, it’s not as bad, perhaps, as leggings or the jeans-under-a-skirt phenomenon, but it has got to stop.  There’s nothing I hate worse than browsing the clearance rack at Banana Republic and seeing what looks to be a promising sleeve (cable knit, chocolate brown), pulling it out to examine the sweater, and then being cruelly disappointed when I discover that, OOPS, IT’S A SHRUG!

The only real fruit of this phenomenon has been that I have started using the “OOPS” construction when I need to say something obvious: OOPS, MY LUNGS ARE MADE OF CHOWDER, for example.  This is especially fun when using an Austrian accent. (As in, OOPS, CALIFORNIA IS RUNNING OUT OF ELECTRICITY.)

Try it yourself and see.  Had an unpleasant experience at the movies this weekend?  I have just the exclamation for you:  OOPS, M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN IS A SELF-AGGRANDIZING BOOB. Got a midnight craving for a burrito the size of your leg? OOPS, I JUST ATE FOUR THOUSAND CALORIES.

This might just be the sort of thing that only I (and select, elite others) find amusing, in which case, I apologize for wasting your time.   OOPS, I WROTE ABOUT A PERSONAL JOKE ON THE INTERNET AND IT WASN’T VERY FUNNY.