How to Do the Monkey Bars as an Adult

In adulthood, the monkey bars become a rare and mythical concept. Like a unicorn, or a pickleback shot you don’t immediately regret. But if you’re like me, you’re either looking to recapture a shred of your childlike innocence, or you’re seeking revenge against Amelia, who beat you in the monkey bars contest in 3rd grade. Here are a few things you should consider.

Invest in life insurance. This has less to do with the monkey bars, and more to do with the inherent risks of adulthood. Also, you might fall off the monkey bars and die on impact. It’s good to be prepared. Amelia probably doesn’t have life insurance.

Double knot your shoelaces. Research shows that those who double knot their shoelaces are 146 percent less likely to trip and break their face than people who don’t. Also, don’t wear heels to do the monkey bars. Despite my mother’s protest, I did this in 3rd grade, and studies show it’s 67 percent of the reason I now talk about a girl from 3rd grade in therapy.

Notify a trusted adult of your whereabouts. Make sure this trusted adult is not Amelia because she cannot be trusted.

Prepare yourself physically. You can do this by lightly stretching or running a marathon. Whatever your method, it’s key that your limbs are adequately stretched and warmed up, and that your body is properly fueled by spite towards Amelia.

It was never just about monkey bars. It never is just about monkey bars. I wore heels to do the monkey bars in 3rd grade because I wanted to impress Amelia. I was always trying to impress Amelia. I fell off my bike and skinned my knee because I wanted to show Amelia I could ride a two-wheeler without falling off and skinning my knee. I could not. But Amelia was never impressed. She was too busy trying to get Justin to notice her. He never did.

Pack snacks. Protein-rich snacks will sustain you through what could turn into 8-hours of flailing while small children named Justin throw chewed up Goldfish at you. Don’t share any of your snacks with the small children. You made this mistake in third grade. This will only encourage them to throw more Goldfish at you. Don’t expect Amelia to defend you.

Practice your grip strength. Being able to hold onto something cold and fleeting, like the feeling of your continued offers of friendship being harshly rejected as a child will help you successfully swing the monkey bars as an adult. For extra training, practice squeezing your phone until your knuckles turn white when your parents remark how well Justin from elementary school is doing.

Do a practice round. Before you announce your intentions to do the monkey bars as an adult online or in person, go by yourself, preferably late at night to practice without any witnesses.

And that’s when you see her. Amelia. Standing alone in front of the monkey bars. It’s been 20 years, but you still feel an innate need to impress her.

“Hi,” she breathes. She offers you a single Goldfish. This time, Justin hasn’t chewed it. You take it, while telling her you can ride a two-wheel bike now without falling off and skinning your knee. She laughs and says she’s impressed.

You hang on the monkey bars facing each other. You kiss. Then you fall off and roll your ankle. But it’s so worth it.