Park, Parque, Parke

city-parks-john-strange-park-3I was sitting in the park today, enjoying the birds at the bird feeder as they sang and had fun evacuating wherever they darn well pleased. What a life this must be. Eating free food and pooping in the park, and that’s when I started to wonder where the word “park” came from. 

I immediately consulted the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, and lo and behold they said there was no known origin for the word. Well, hearing that, I knew it was up to me to come up with one.

When I was a boy, parks were called “vacant lots” and now, vacant lots are becoming parks. The name “park” was first coined by St. Francis who was leading his donkey through a dusty town when he came upon a green space where he said, “This looks like a good place to park my ass.” source: Donald Trump.

Thankfully today, we can drive to the park where we can park the car before parking it on a park bench, and that’s the kind of park I like. And I like the fact that we have all kinds of parks.  We have state parks, county parks, city parks, and big national parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Branson.

My concern is that we are adulterating the word “park” with adjectives like ball park, water park, theme park, amusement park, wild animal park, memorial park, and trailer park. Think about it. How would you feel if you were a nine-year-old and your folks told you that you were going to a park and it was really your Aunt Mongo’s trailer park. That experience could keep a kid out of parks for a long time. It’s as bad as going to a memorial park for a quiet picnic with grandpa.

My point is that we have to revive the sanctity of the word PARK so that folks know what to expect. I have developed a tentative list of things I think should be required to qualify for the title of park.

1) There must be greenery, and lots of it. Grass, trees, shrubbery, and lots of weeds must be the dominant feature of a park. If you live in Arizona or someplace else in the desert, your park must feature brownery.

2) Wildlife must be present, be it in the form of birds, fish, squirrels, yak, et al.

3) Parks should have washrooms or porta-potties. You still can qualify as a park if you don’t have toilets, but people are going to pee in your park which could ruin the ambiance.

4) A park is a quiet place. No loud music please, just the sounds of nature, punctuated by the occasional dip-wad talking very loudly on his cell phone.

5) A park should be free, because if you spell park backwards you get krap and nobody pays for krap.

In a salute to parks everywhere, I have composed the following ode to parks. Actually, it’s more of a limerick and the title is A Park In Nantucket.

A man from Nantucket named Mark

Took a casual stroll through the park.

He was wearing a suit

And a bow tie to boot,

So the kids all thought he was a narc.

I hope this clears up any questions you might have had regarding the origin of the word park. Next time I’m going to examine the word “vestibule”.

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