Some people in New Zealand have swimming pools and most own at least one car. But nearly everyone has a trampoline. Hyperbole? Why not. Yet walk down any street in Auckland and rest assured that if you suddenly get the urge to jump up and down, you won’t have to do it the old-fashioned way with your stupid old boring legs. Because there’s bound to be a trampoline nearby to assist you in meeting your leaping needs. Indeed, there are at least three trampolines on my small block alone, including this one below.
Not too shabby. But what does this fascination with assisted-leaping apparatuses tell us about the New Zealand psyche? Is it the first sign of a collective yielding to cabin fever? Or is it the crowning achievement of New Zealand’s national space program? Or is it just a funny coincidence?
The trampoline-industrial-complex will have you believe that assisted leaping is fun, but they have yet to convince children of that fact. Maybe that’s because safety standards have improved since the dark ages of the 1980s when trampoline-related deaths seemed not so uncommon. Children just won’t do anything unless there’s a guarantee of somebody getting hurt. That’s why despite the prevalence of such contraptions throughout Auckland you will never under any circumstance see a child have fun anywhere near a trampoline.
To get a picture of what we’re dealing with here, check out this map (view The Trampolines of Auckland, NZ in a larger map) I made showing all the trampolines in a 1.6 square kilometer area of Mount Eden. Note that though it is a sunny day and many of the trampolines are perfectly visible, there isn’t one child jumping up and down with assistance.