Consider The Shark Park

It is officially, I think, I will not check, Summertime. It’s hot out, and you are blissfully unaware of any sort of water crisis in your state. Your children are complaining, and you either do not want to go to your public pool out of a thinly-disguised disdain for the members of your community or you’re not allowed there anymore because of a fight you got in with one of the other Dads over the protocols of the placement of towels over pool chairs to reserve said chair. You didn’t spring for a backyard pool because you were afraid some stranger would wander into your backyard while drunk, fall in, drown and raise your insurance rates. 

Your children still complain. 

You’re left with no choice. You must consider the Shark Park.

Shark Park REAL

The Shark Park is but a single entity within a wide range of products under the umbrella of “Some plastic thing you place on your lawn and run water through so your kids can play on it.” This industry has grown from humble beginnings. Its grandfather, the Wham-O Slip ‘n’ Slide, could have loosely been described as “A Tarp” in its original form –

rHLpTNO - Imgur

The industry developed as many do. Originally, it was through minor innovations: Widening the tarp and putting a divider in the middle prompting the children to race. Putting a reservoir at the end so that children would have something to splash into as they came to a stop rather than continuing out into the asphalt of the Cul-de-sac.  

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And here we are now today. This is but the closest we can get to the twentieth century dream of sliding down wet tarp and potentially suffering paralysis on a hot June afternoon. There are fountains on the side, which is normal, and a little reservoir, which is good, and it only costs the parent 19.95 with free shipping provided one has an Amazon Prime membership. What more can one ask for? Apparently, a significant amount. The afore-pictured slip and slide is the bare minimum of lawn-and-hose-based summer water fun. It gets only more ostentatious and opulent from here. For example, costing only a mere thirty dollars more, we see the TEAM MAGNUS 18ft Water Slide – Central Sprinkler and XL Crash pad for Races – 2021 Launch

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Necessary? Perhaps. If you have two children, this is simply the most efficient way to accomplish this. Fifty dollars seems a little steep to my eyes for a product like this, sure, but you’re the parent and I’m the one writing on a weblog for no money.

The next step up, though, is a steep one. In fact, it makes TEAM MAGNUS’ fifty-two dollar asking price seem downright generous. It is time to enter the territory of the backyard Inflatable Water Slide

Water Slide

Costzon’s output here is a simple one. Only intended for the smallest of children. One at a time, one other one manning the little cannon. And still, the price point is $240. $240 is the equivalent of fourteen hours of work at my job. You cannot pull $240 out of your typical ATM at one time, you have to go inside the bank to get that amount. And this is without the blower.

Adding the blower nets you another $110 on top of the $240. Unless you own a blower, and I will be frank here in stating that I do not, you will be spending over three hundred and fifty dollars with tax to install what is, in the grand scheme of things, a modest inflatable water slide in your yard. I had a friend who bought a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass for $300 of Facebook a few summers ago, for comparison.

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The next natural step up is the Sunny & Fun Deluxe Inflatable Water Slide Park. Again, sans-blower, this will run you $400 (free shipping with Amazon Prime). This is, by the calculous of the prior example, one and a third 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlasses. The slide appears larger than the prior water slide, the pool beneath appears to have a greater surface area, and there’s a little cave or something beneath the slide. Given the price of the prior slide (sans-blower), the $140 increase at least seems to logically scale. Older children are larger than younger children, as is the way of life, so the slide must be taller, and they have new, more complex needs, so there must be a little cave. 

To be frank once more, and to prepare you, the reader, for the disdainful opulence to follow, this I believe is the final object in this post to feel logical. I can understand a wealthy family purchasing this. It looks like a good time, and I feel that – while perhaps the little cave is ostentatious – there is an internal logic to it. Some of these parents likely also have considered buying one of the stupid expensive new XBOXes for their children, and how different is the enjoyment a child gets from this compared to the enjoyment a child gets from a Victory Royale on Fortnite? I can see how the dots could connect, though I am in no position to connect them myself.

But what follows? What follows is opulence, pure and simple. What follows is the sort of thing that makes an otherwise normal person post jpegs of guillotines at celebrities on Twitter and donate monthly to a socialism podcast on Patreon. What follows is the HONEY JOY Inflatable Water Slides, Kids Jumping Bounce House w/ 2 Water Cannons & Hose, Long Slides with Arch, Climbing Wall & Splash Pool, Outdoor Blow Up Water Park for Backyard (Without Blower)

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This, sans-blower, will run the parent $460. While I am amazed at the amount of extra bells and whistles afforded by the sixty dollars separating this particular product and the prior one, I cannot, as a member of a society, accept the concept that one household needs a product that self-describes as a “Water Park.” As a rental? Perhaps. But to own? I cannot fathom it. Perhaps one of the richer churches, like the ones with a basketball court that we used to hold our cub scout year-end banquets in, could swing this and I would understand the need, bring it out a few times during summers for a fundraiser event or something. But a single family? TWO water slides? TWO water cannons? A climbing wall? (This feels like an overkill, personally. Especially given where it sits at the end of the water slide, climbing up to nothingness simply for the sake of climbing up something) All at the expense of the little cave from the prior slide. 

And how ostentatious, those arches… I cannot, will not stand for this. And it only gets worse in the example of the Blast Zone Pirate Blaster – Inflatable Water Park with Blower – Large – Slide – Climbing Wall – Bounce House – Tunnel

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How loosely we cling to the pleasant familiarity of the triple-digit price range. While this is artificially inflated (the price, I mean. The water park itself is also artificially inflated but I am referring to the price) by the inclusion of the blower, which I believe we’ve established is around a $150 value, the inclusion of the bounce house (and the return of the little cave) pushes this into another stratosphere of product. This is downright three 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlasses. While I will vouch from personal childhood experience that getting water into a bounce house creates an enjoyable experience, I feel that the bounce house should be a sort of fleeting experience that children have. What novelty is there to the bounce house if you have plentiful access to one? Parents must consider what they take from their child when they subject them to such opulence as this.

Triple Slide Park HEavy Duty

In a strictly physical sense, the typical US penny weighs 3.11 grams. In a metaphysical sense, there is perhaps no heavier penny than the one that is not present on the price tag for the Deluxe Inflatable Water Triple Slide Park – Heavy-Duty Nylon Bouncy Station for Outdoor Fun – Climbing Wall, 3 Slides & Splash Pool – Easy to Set Up & Inflate with Included Air Pump & Carrying Case. This penny holds the immense weight at the back of one’s mind that allows them to state somewhat truthfully that they did not break the four-digit price limit in purchasing an inflatable outdoor water slide. 

What really gets to me about this one is the lack of creativity. The included bounce house, opulent as it is, is at least something different from just adding a third slide and a little basketball hoop. The castle wall above the little platform at the top, complete with ramparts and turret, is something creative but it really serves little purpose other than vanity. I find it astounding that HONEY JOY was able to squeeze in a second water cannon in for less than half of the price that this tri-peak slide monstrosity runs. It’s just frustrating. In fact, I haven’t been this frustrated with TriPeaks since – wait,

TriPeaks Standup Shot

There we go. Fit for reddit.com slash r slash stand up shots. Anyway, moving on:

BANZAI Pipeline

Dear God. Nearly fifteen hundred dollars (with free shipping provided you have an Amazon Prime membership). Five 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlasses Worth of Money. The BANZAI Pipeline Twist Kids Inflatable Outdoor Backyard Water Pool Aqua Splash Park and Slides with Climbing Wall, Water Cannons, & Clubhouse, Ages 5+ will take up so much of the water supply that your town’s city council will have to come up with a way to ban you from using it. 

Once again, two cannons. I find it interesting that, no matter how much you spend on one of these monstrosities, it seems to cap out at two cannons. Guess we just haven’t come up with the three cannon tech yet.

And that big, cornering slide looks like a great time, I must admit. And it would probably be a great time hanging out either in the upstairs clubhouse or in the little cave under the big cornering slide. The secondary slide looks like an afterthought, they could’ve just cut that entirely and saved us a couple hundred bucks. But this isn’t about saving anybody a couple hundred bucks. I don’t even know what this is about at this point. I think my point I was trying to make was that this was an unbelievable but fascinating idea to me, that there are people shopping for this sort of thing for their kids (and, to be fair, I think most people that buy these are buying them to rent out to other people) and it would get progressively more and more opulent and I would get more and more astonished. And I am astonished. It is surprising to me that these products are real and that it seems like a lot of people just have fifteen hundred dollars and an unlimited water budget to put down on one of these things. 

This one appears to be the end of the road. After this point, I imagine there’s bigger and better inflatable waterparks but they’re limited to people in the industry. This was inspired by a JPEG I found on my old hard drive entitled “Shark Park.” It is the first image I put in this post and will be the one following this paragraph. It was fascinating to me at the time that I first saw it, and it still is, because the whole concept of something this huge and this expensive and this shark-themed just seems to be so far outside of my own domain of understanding or desire or logic regarding what money could be spent on. Like they make whole real waterparks you can spend like thirty dollars to get into.

Shark Park REAL

Probably the worst thing about being alive is that I will never again be small enough to experience the Shark Park as intended, for I am too large and too old now, and if that ever happens, like if reincarnation is what happens after you die, the number of things that would have to go right in order for me to end up privy to the Shark Park is just astronomical. There will never be a version of me who experiences the Shark Park as intended – there will never be a version of me who experiences the Shark Park at all. This makes me sad, and indeed somewhat envious of the children who got to and get to experience the Shark Park, because it looks like a good time.

Do I think, in a world of my own creation, that there would be a Shark Park, or a BANZAI Pipeline Twist Kids Inflatable Outdoor Backyard Water Pool Aqua Splash Park and Slides with Climbing Wall, Water Cannons, & Clubhouse, Ages 5+, or a Deluxe Inflatable Water Triple Slide Park – Heavy-Duty Nylon Bouncy Station for Outdoor Fun – Climbing Wall, 3 Slides & Splash Pool – Easy to Set Up & Inflate with Included Air Pump & Carrying Case, or even a Blast Zone Pirate Blaster – Inflatable Water Park with Blower – Large – Slide – Climbing Wall – Bounce House – Tunnel? Likely not.

But if I am aware of anything at this stage in my life, it is that this world is not one of my own creation. This world is about as far as possible from being something of my own creation. And that’s fine. It is ridiculous to expect that the world could ever perfectly mirror the world that I want it to be. Really I find myself embracing this fact more and more, especially given the tumult of the last year, that the world is out there and, by-in-large, it could not care even a little about what Joe Bush wants. It is a world where there is a Shark Park, and there is a professional basketball team named “The Nuggets,” and there is no longer Borders Bookstores, and Joe Bush is also there in a little apartment and he cooks his meals and he goes to work and he likes his job and he likes his friends and keeps stopping himself from time to time and recognizing that he feels happier now than he did a few months ago regardless of all of that. And even if he was never like eight years old at the time where there was a Shark Park and in a family that could drop upwards of a thousand bucks on the Shark Park, there would be other Shark Parks, things that will fill and have filled whatever void he feels the lack of a Shark Park has left.

The Shark Park is unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, or perhaps fittingly, out of stock everywhere I look but at one point it was available on the Wal-Mart website for $849.99. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that it has the Little Cave, but not even a one cannon, let alone two. My personal recommendation is just to stick with the classic Slip ‘n’ Slide formula, but to cut-out the middle-man even further and just buy a couple of tarps, run ’em longways, and pour water over them with the garden hose. 

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Eight bucks, baby! Cut it lengthwise, lay ’em out atop each other and let the hose run. All the Summer fun you’ll ever need, and it’ll only cost you 2.7% of a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass. 

About Joe Bush

The guy behind JoeBush.net and a lot of other things
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