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5 Metro Places to Dump Your Kids This Summer

6:17 AM EDT on June 23, 2016

TEEN1

Children are a total burden. When I see all of my married friends, begging and pleading with their obnoxious brood to just show some semblance of human decency towards them, desperately trying to hold back the tears of failure, the tears of a wasted life, the tears of a forced loss of freedom, I can’t help but realize it’s worth dying alone than having to deal with all the absolute bullshit that comes with parenting. At least that's what my parents told me.

And really, this is made so much more evident during the Summer months as I see soccer moms and the dad from Cats in The Cradle trying to figure out every single aspect of their children’s day while running low on cash, time and, above all, patience. That’s why I enjoy offering them the unsolicited advice of giving up and just dumping the brats off with a five dollar bill at Old Paris and allowing them to fend for themselves. It’s what many of our pre-coddle society parents did to us and we turned out okay. For the most part.

Listen, mom and dad: cut the cord and gain a little peace of mind back, if only for a few hours. Here’s a list of local places that I’m sure will be happy to hold your precious angels, if only for an afternoon.

TEENPAD

1. “Splash Pads”

What the Hell happened to all the public pools? All of them are gone and replaced with what my brother told me are called “splash pads,” wherein streams of dirty sewer water shoot up from the ground like a piss-poor sprinkler system in your neighbor’s front yard. All that’s missing is the Slip-n-Slide made from discount garbage bags and dangerous gigantic clown hat flying high into the air.

Back in the day, the community pool was the place to go and spend the entire day, where sunburns were religious experiences and cannonballs would get you in a 15 minute time out. And, as an added bonus, there was a lifeguard on duty who usually did a good job of telling the fat kids they couldn’t wear their shirt in the pool. Needless to say, I spent most of the summer reading dystopic science fiction near the concession stand.

But this “splash pad” nonsense? Kids trying to chase down errant squirts of water on blistering hot concrete? This is what we’re gonna go with, OKC Parks and Rec? It’s as good as anyplace to dump your tykes off I guess.

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TEENSLIBRARY

2. The Public Library

I worked at the Belle Isle Library from about 1993 to 1998. Starting off as a “Teen Reader Leader,” I was stuck for many hours in the children’s wing of the pre-Internet age library and everyday, you’d see the same kids there, parentless and without supervision, wreaking havoc of all kinds. From latchkey boys forming gangs and destroying the vending machines down by the meeting rooms to middle school girls meeting high school boys in the parking lot, the library was the source for adolescent sin and debauchery, myself included.

Even though we like to say times have changed, they really haven’t. Sure, the library has been remodeled beyond recognition and every corner of the place is taken up with an Internet-ready terminal (already a doubleplusgood babysitter!), but it still seems to be the go-to place for parents to drop off their kids, totally under the impression that they are going to get some summertime reading done while, in fact, they’re getting to first base out by the creek near the dumpsters. They just might as well advertise it as “Summer Sexploration Camp," or "The Liberal Falls Creek."

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crossroads mall security guard

3. The Mall

The mall is already a terrible place to go to. Crowded, stuffy and lacking a Camelot or Suncoast, absolutely nothing there for me. Add to the fact that multiple bands of teenage subcultures who rule what’s cool and what’s lame have created a gauntlet of self-esteem destroying judgement as soon as you walk in through the doors, give me the peaceful resignation of Amazon.com, thank you very much.

Seriously, is there anything more soul-destroying, as an adult, than teenagers looking directly at you, whispering things to each other while still looking at you, and then laughing riotously, never once breaking eye contact. Add five points if they’re teenage girls standing outside Forever 21. But that’s just how it is during the summer; the mall is theirs. They own it and their parents have given it to them. Might as well just have Starbucks build a Korova Milkbar and make it official: you are no longer a relevant human being. Enjoy returning those pants you bought online, fatty.

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TEENSum

4. Summer School

With Oklahoma City shortening the school year—you guys really only get June and July now?—why not cut your losses and just enroll them in summer school? Whether it’s retaking a failed class or just trying to get a few credits ahead, summer school is like a state-mandated educational babysitter and hey, even lunch is provided if you’re poor enough. I was. Win-win.

I loved going to summer school at Northwest Classen as a teenager; I’ll never forget the year I learned about the ends and out of Oklahoma divorce law from my clinically depressed math teacher that passed the mostly gangbanger-filled class after giving up within the first week. I also managed to score my first butch girlfriend, I saw a guy stabbed in the neck with a plastic spork and discovered the magnificence of Too Short via a mixtape I found in the boys’ room. It was the best education I ever got.

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Laughing small kids on a white background

5.  Vacation Bible School

Hey, if it means a few hours of peace and quiet, indoctrinate away! And with at least one of these VBS program happening a week at any random Baptist church, it’s easy to get the whole summer covered. And  don’t worry if it’s not the same religion you practice, it’s not like your kid can tell the difference anyway They’re kids. They have no clue. Praise be.

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Louis Fowler has a dumb, boring Twitter. To follow him, on it, go here @LouisFowler.

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