Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Desert #4

Just a couple of weeks ago, on April 7th, George Nissen, inventor of the trampoline, passed away aged 96. How many broken wrists and forearms, how many stolen kisses and fumbles under the gauzy shade of the trampoline mat, how many welts from the pinch of the springs, how many long hot days spent talking about superheroes while waiting your turn, how many minor power struggles resolved over a timely double bounce, how many kid brothers sent hurtling, how many exhilarated grins at the first successful backflip, how many endless afternoons of nauseau and sea legs do we have to thank this man for?

He spent the first half of his life championing and promoting his invention. One of his marketing stunts involved him bouncing on the trampoline with a (pissed off and slightly humiliated, you would imagine) kangaroo; another secretly constructing a trampoline on top of one of the tombs surrounding the Giza pyramids to get the incredible photograph above. Oblivious to it all, we envied the kids who owned trampolines and felt elated at those long suspended moments hovering above it. There is always an uncomplicated bliss for those of us, far out on the periphery, who reap the rewards of the madness, obsessions and steely resolve of inventors, salesfolk, visionaries and artists.

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