The Slice: Technology’s toll on crazy old coots

There are good reasons to worry about kids not engaging in physical activity.

Childhood obesity is bad for them and bad for our health care system.

But there’s an overlooked cost attached to the trend of increasingly inactive young people. And I’ll tell you what it is.

If little kids spend all day indoors playing video games, sending text messages from their phones and fooling around on computers, when am I going to have the chance to yell, “Hey, get off my lawn!”

I’m serious.

Get Off My Lawn Season is coming. But if children are all engaged in sedentary indoor pursuits, how am I supposed to hone my mean old man skills?

As someone born in the exact middle of the 1946-1964 baby boom, I am qualified to report that it wasn’t always this way.

Kids used to run around outdoors. And being yelled at by crazy old coots was part of the warm-weather landscape.

Well, it’s my turn to be a crazy old coot. But if I want to find children to scold, I’ll probably have to go door-to-door.

Ding dong.


“Hi. I’m Mr. Turner from down the street. I’m wondering if you have any youngsters I might yell at?”

“Why, yes. Right in here. On the couch. Please come in.”

“Thank you.”

I suppose I could shout at my neighbor’s cat. But experience suggests she doesn’t really listen to me.

Of course, children wouldn’t either. I know that.

The fun of “Hey, get off my lawn!” is the pure absurdity of it all.

I can still remember being a child and delighting in this classic evidence that adults were nuts.

I’d like to provide a few Spokane kids with similar golden memories. But I can’t if they never get off their butts.

Today’s Slice question: Ever tried to count up the number of stitches you’ve gotten over the years?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail pault@spokesman.com. I hereby declare today to be Willene Wick Day in Spokane.

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