Night Swinging

When I was younger, I loved playing on swings. My best friend Ryan and I would spend all of recess on the swings, making up new tricks and seeing who could jump further. Eventually it got to the point where ankles were being sprained and we had both perfected the backflip off the swing.

Now, many years later, I still love swinging despite encountering fewer opportunities to do it. One of the distinctive features at my new building is a large metal terrace hanging over the rooftop patio. Since moving in I’ve wanted to build a swing on it so that I could swing over the edge of the building.

I’m not sure why, but yesterday inspiration struck and I decided that it would be that day I built my swing. Evan and Jonah were with me. Evan was upset by the idea, worried that I might die. Jonah was also eager to swing, and helped me assure Evan that I did stuff like this all the time, and that I wouldn’t die. She wasn’t wholly convinced.

We arrived at Wal-Mart, the launching ground of many good schemes. We strode down the linoleum to the garden section, where the swings were.

“They’re outside. You can’t go there until 7am.”


Just kidding, I never get foiled. In fact, my resolve was even stronger. It wasn’t just a whim anymore, it was a challenge from the Wal Mart gods. Evan was cranky, probably because the prospect of me safely swinging was looking less likely. She suggested I wait until tomorrow.

I hate waiting until tomorrow, though. In a way I was glad there weren’t swings. I like having to be creative.

I zig zagged throught he aisles, looking for suitable swings. A woven rug looked promising, but had no way to attach the ropes to it. I finally found a boat bumper (you know those pill shaped things that make it so boats don’t hit the dock?) and decided it would be the seat of the swing.

The guy in the rope section was strange. He suggested a rope that was rated for 188lb. I weigh 140lb, and I guarantee you I weigh a lot more when swinging on a swing. Angered by our dissent, he left.

The other rope available was rated for 375lb. I figured that might be enough but didn’t remember enough Physics to really be sure. With some hesitation, I grabbed two 20′ lengths.

Then I caught sight of a beautiful thing. Nylon seatbelt-like tie down straps rated for 5000 pounds. Perfect. I bought one of those and another rated for 1000 as a backup.

We went home and got to work. The details of how we set it up are pretty boring, but in the end we made a fantastic swing out of the 5000lb strap and the bumper. It was even comfortable once I let the air out of the bumper.

As a safety we attached the 1000lb strap to a harness.

The first interesting thing I noticed is that if I was wearing the safety strap, it was no longer scary to stand on the edge of the building. I could lean forward over the edge with no fear at all. If I imagined I didn’t have the strap it got scary again.

I sat on the swing and kicked back. With a quick whoosh I was over the edge of the building looking two hundred feet down at the city below. It was magnificent. Jonah and I took turns riding the swing until it was time to go to sleep.

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  1. Looks like fun! Hope the building management doesn’t mind. Oh, and the boat “bumper?” Proper nomenclature is “fender.” Strange but true. Just in case you care 😉

  2. 1. I was cranky because you took me to Wal-Mart, the worst place on earth.

    2. I would like to point out that Steve Irwin, aka the crocodile hunter died ( He was stabbed through the chest by a sting ray. If I had been there I would have said “Wow Steve, chillin with sting rays seems like a really dangerous thing to do. Why don’t you go spend some quality time with your awfully named children, Bob and Bindi Sue?” And I’m certain he would have replied, “Crikey Evan! I pull insane stunts like this all the time. Dangerous and temperamental creatures of the wild love me. So bugger off.”
    And look at what became of him!
    So MAYBE you should listen to your old pal once in a while. K thx.

  3. Dude!! I’m coming over to swing! Awesome.

    BTW, crotch picture is great and is in my camera waiting to be emailed. However, camera is in New York. I should be able to get it by Wednesday.


  4. Oh wow. I feel nervous even looking at that. It’s really, really awesome.

    How is the seatbelt attached to the roof? I imagine seat belts would be tricky to tie properly since they’re generally slippery.

    Please reply (I.e. please don’t be hospitalised 😉

  5. I am terrified looking at that.

    It is the coolest thing ever. (I proclaim that a lot; the previous coolest thing ever was an RC plane with flappy wings. An RC dragonfly, if you will.)

  6. being that you lived in LA for a while, and wrote that book, i sooooo thought this article was going to be about something else. i will be there at the airport with bells on if you round the world this way again.

  7. I love it and I love your stories. They’re so…ME. I know we’d be great friends if we ever met haha.

    And wal-mart isn’t the worst place on earth Evan. Its AWESOME they have evrything ;D


  8. thats absolutely crazy i was just on this rooftop a few months ago for a friend’s birthday party. do you know David who works for the ABC? lives on the 5th floor i think. he introduced me to your neighbor from the mel gibson story, unless someone else now lives in that condo. His drawing of Yoko ono by John Lenon is seriously the coolest thing ive ever seen. anyways thanks for answering, you’re an inspiration!

  9. Woa. At first coming from you I thought this was going to be about the other kind of swinging. Haha. As always though, still good stuff.

  10. Wow, I like your style, Tynan. I can only imagine what people would say about me if I made a post about “night swinging.”

    Love it. Keep it up.


  11. i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1i want to see if i can do it during my lifetime. this is definetly going to my bucket list.

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