Another birthday celebration for my son, Boy 1. Last week it was with the family, this week his friends. After pizza, cake, ice cream, and unwrapping (mostly LEGO) gifts, we went out for some fresh air. My wife and I took seven boys to one of two local parks. Dubbed the “bouncy park” by my children owing to its trampoline, it’s a place we’ve been going to for the past nine years. I like it because it has a swing set with a seat wide enough for me to actually sit.
On a sandy patch next to the chalet, the small slide for younger children had a crude image of a penis spray painted on one of its plastic sides. That wasn’t there the last time. Nor was the word “nigger” spray painted on the window of the chalet. I asked my wife afterwards what would prompt anyone to draw that image on a children’s slide and that word on the window. Someone who’s sick, she said, someone who’s disturbed, someone who wants attention. I’m grateful that none of the children paid any attention to the graffiti.
Why do this in a small park in a middle class neighbourhood in a Montreal suburb? You wanted my attention, you’ve got it. You wanted to upset me, done. What you have done, whoever you are, has no place here. It has no place anywhere. Especially not in a children’s park. Not in my children’s Bouncy Park. You are disturbed, you have probably been neglected by your parents, maybe you’ve never been loved, perhaps you’ve been bullied or picked on and this is your way of thinking you’re cool. I never saw any of this growing up, and I certainly don’t want my children to either.