Writings by Gary Oberg

Future of Play

©Gary Oberg 2019


The future of playing, as we know it is in real danger of becoming obsolete.

 Typical millennials of today will ensure a playless future.

 They are the age of “participation trophies”. In their youth, they got so many trophies and became so disillusioned by them that they don’t feel like participating in anything, even procreation. Their birth rates are going down.

 The exception of this is my focus family: Milly, Len, and Al. They live in Southern Arizona.

 One day in 2050 Milly, Len, and Al go to the local McDonalds. The McPlay area is greatly diminished in size to include playthings that are no higher than a footstool.  This is to avoid the possibility of injury and potential lawsuits.

 When they arrive at the order kiosk, to play, Al is required to first breathe on the kiosk screen.  Oops! The kiosk says, “AL your microbe level is too high and that present level of germs in the play area all will interact with your asthma and cause irreparable harm.” “You must not play,” barks the kiosk.

 Al is devastated.

 Milly then takes charge of the situation and orders everyone a McTofu at room temp to avoid high carbon footprints. The beef cattle have all been killed off and since been banned because they release too much flatulence in the methane form. (That has got me really thinking!)

 After a quick lunch, the family walks home. Al is content to play with his non- allergenic robot that is programmed to say only kind words and encouraging phrases. 

The local playgrounds are gone. The plastic equipment that replaced the wood ones are now declared to be releasing too many harmful monomers to be safe for the children and had to be dismantled. There are older technologies available such as concrete, but President A.O.C has spent all of the government funds on her “green new deal.” There are no longer any service clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, and the Lions to build playgrounds. They have disappeared since the millennials are not joiners.

 Milly goes to the mail box and finds a letter from Len’s employer, government contractor number 105625. 

 “Dear Len: We regret to inform you that you must now work in Phoenix.”

 Len hysterically states, “That is 104 miles away and we have used up all our carbon credits. We will not be able to commute or move our family to Phoenix.”

Milly gets a great idea.  “Let’s move to Lake Wobegon in Minnesota where climate change has had such an impact that there is now permafrost. Farming is over, houses are cheap, and this will help an Al with his asthma.”

 Len says, ”That’s a great idea, but we have no carbon credits to get there either.”

 Milly, the consummate feminist and leader of the family says, ”Not a problem, we will bicycle to Kansas City, trade our bikes for snowshoes and cross-country skis.”

 Three months later they arrived at Lake Wobegon on a snowy day in August. Al enrolled in “Our Lady of Perpetual Snow,” a pre K-25, post Catholic school.

 The sisters had long ago done away with corporal punishment and had come up with an ingenious way of discipline. They had the kids build snow forts and have snowball fights to punish themselves. Al took to this like a duck to water. Len found happiness in ice fishing year around. Milly still does not play.

 Thanks Garrison, for saving play, where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are way above average.


© Garg Oberg 2019 – ROSE CITY PRESS – - website by Joan Holman Productions: