Adult Bounce-houses Are the New Thing

(AP Photo/South Glens Fall Police Department)

I was running morning errands today, which included a stop at the local mailbox store/shipping center. I was heading for the mailbox and overheard a young woman bemoaning the fact that she was in yet another argument with her mother about why she wasn’t married. She was commenting to a co-worker, “I told her there was no reason everyone has to get married at 19.” And I agree. I got married to my first wife at 25 and was surprised at all the things I suddenly had to juggle. There is a case to be made for waiting for matrimony until one is responsible enough to handle it.

For years in Utah, it was not uncommon for people to marry relatively young. I saw many wedding announcements for people who were one or two years out of high school. And of course, the running joke about Brigham Young University has been that women enroll there to pursue their Mrs. degrees. Some of that can be connected to the LDS Church, but some of it may be a holdover from a time when people began taking responsibility for themselves at an early age.

Many young people still do take charge of their lives, but many do not.

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Behold the rise of adult bounce houses. Yes, you read that right. We are not talking about parents going with their children to bounce houses; we are talking about adult bounce houses. In The Wall Street Journal, Alyssa Lukpat notes that more and more grown-ups are opting to have bounce houses at various events, including birthday and company parties and even weddings. At some venues, people have a few cocktails before jumping, flipping, flopping, and sliding to their hearts’ content. I just hope someone has a pressure washer handy. Drinking and bouncing could create some nasty if colorful results. Lukpat writes:

Big Bounce America, a traveling inflatable event now visiting cities across North America, has adults-only sessions with DJs and food trucks. “Everyone MUST behave like an overgrown child,” Big Bounce’s website says.

In New England, XtremeCraze’s “indoor inflatable air parks” market to grown-ups:If you’ve ever watched a bounce house full of kids at a festival or birthday party and thought, ‘I wish they had these for adults,’ you’re in luck.”

While these adults may enjoy getting in touch with their inner toddlers, they are also discovering that while they may feel like five-year-olds, their bodies feel entirely different after a bounce-house kinda night. And I am sure the three or four shots of tequila don’t help. One woman complained, “My thighs were sore, my legs were sore, my back was even sore. I slept the entire (next) day.”

I was working at a Christian bookstore when adult coloring books became all the rage. At the time, evangelical leaders were fretting that many of the coloring pages resembled mandalas, making them gateways to pagan worship or Eastern religions. All I thought at the time was, “Why do adults need coloring books?” I know there are those who claim adult coloring books help in developing concentration and releasing stress. There is also evidence that mental engagement can help stave off dementia. But while I never had trouble bouncing on the trampoline with my grandson or coloring with my granddaughter, if I did those things by myself, I would feel like an idiot.

But to each his own, I suppose.

How many young men have dropped out of the workforce to stay home, surf the web, and play online games? How many people have been hired for one business or another and either simply ghosted their employer or were barely functional in the workplace? I’ve experienced that, and if you own a business or have a supervisory role, you probably have, too. In fact, there are now classes for college grads that teach them how to dress, talk and behave in the office. These are basic skills they should have mastered before graduating high school, let alone college. I have reviewed employment applications that in addition to being illegible were so poorly written that I thought the application had been translated from the original Venusian before being forwarded to me. I’m talking about people who could not even string a simple sentence together. And they expected me to trust them with a million dollars worth of equipment.

Adult bounce houses sound innocuous. Just some good, harmless fun and a chance to blow off steam, right? It’s just about people getting in touch with their inner child. Except that one has 18 years to get in touch with one’s inner child.

Could it be that adult bounce houses are the latest development for a generation that came of age with very few expectations and an overabundance of indulgences? Are they the result of people who have entered their majority swathed in rainbows, shifting pronouns, and personal truths? My guess is yes. Those things may make for fond childhood memories. But they aren’t going to help our future doctors, lawyers, business leaders, and architects when their expectations fail to clear the hurdles of reality. And they won’t do the rest of us much good, either.


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