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How Not to Jump on a Trampoline

I was probably 11 or 12 years old when we got our first trampoline.  We lived at the top of a long cul de sac in Spring Creek Nevada, and I remember standing at the top of the hill, watching my parents drive up, knowing what was in the back of the van.  My three younger siblings were there too, giddy at the thought of the bouncing to come.

It took my dad forever to set it up, but after much swearing and sweat, he pushed the newly assembled trampoline onto the grass. En masse, we children rushed onto that circle of black fabric and started bouncing.

The games:


“Crack the egg.”

“The Circus.”

“Tom Thumb.” (I can’t remember how we played this game, only that we played it.)

I ran inside and got one of my dad’s long tube socks, stuffing another balled up pair of socks into it.  I could whip this at my sibling’s ankles and jerk them off balance, and they screamed and fell and laughed.

All in all, I’d guess that we bounced on that trampoline for 8 or 9 hours that day.  It was magic.

Until the next morning, when we all tried to get out of bed and realized we were almost unable to walk.  I felt like my spine was four inches shorter than normal, and shaped like an interrobang. And like it had been set on fire.

After a couple of days we were all back to normal, and bouncing away.  But we never pulled another 8 hour day of bouncing.

As an adult, these incidents of indulgence-gone-mad are rarer, but they still happen.  I still get carried away, despite knowing when something’s not great for me.

I do better with my writing when I write for an hour each day, not 7. And yet, sometimes I have unexpected time to myself, I get lost in the project, and the time passes without my knowledge.  This can be pleasant, but the work almost always suffers for it and leads to hellacious amounts of revising and cutting.

I do better with my strength training when I train 3-4 times each week, with measured focus and moderate volume.  And yet, when I’m at the mercy of Tourette’s, or the stresses of life are all baying at the door, I start to train desperately.  I pound away until I’m in a heap, every day.  And I pay for it in soreness, mediocre results, setbacks, poor sleep, and plateaus.

If I’m trying to adjust my diet–I define my diet as everything I eat, not a template in a book–rather than changing one thing at a time and seeing how it goes, I try to go hardcore and do everything at once.  It never works as well as I hope it will.

It can be easier to make grand gestures than to mind the details. To try to impose our will on things that are better coaxed along.

But the real point of this post is that that day on the trampoline was still one of the best of my life for delirious, minute-to-minute joy. So if you’ve got a good trampoline story, please share it.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Spencer August 31, 2012, 11:14 am

    “Interrobang” is one of the awesomest words there is. It is almost too cool to exist.

  • Heather September 4, 2012, 8:25 am

    I remember the trampoline in high school gym class. I always scared everyone by jumping really, really high, but I always stayed as close to the middle as I could. My favorite was the full pike into a flip. My cousins had a trampoline, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as the big-big-BIG one in gym class! 🙂

  • Casey B September 4, 2012, 12:10 pm

    I have had some success on this work out program http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4geXBcwsPg&feature=g-all-u. But I have the same trouble with moderation. There is a diet component as well.

  • Ara Bedrossian September 6, 2012, 6:22 pm

    This post took me back to days of youth when the only thing you worried about is how much fun to have the day you were living.
    But an evolution to mindful play and work is much more productive, and makes for a more satisfying life.

    And Spencer, I agree, “Interrobang” is pretty damn impressive.