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The Slice: Lesson: It’s OK to be strong and smart

Women of a certain age enjoy talking about being bombarded with less-than-empowering media messages when they were girls.

They’re right, of course. Madison Avenue’s idea of the appropriate aspirations for females tended to focus on bouncy hair and mastery of avocado-colored kitchen appliances.

But males have had their own challenges. And summer is the perfect time to bring this up.

Countless impressionable comic-book readers were confronted with the Charles Atlas bodybuilding ad, “The Insult that Made a Man Out of Mac.”

You know the story: Skinny guy, Mac, gets insulted by a big lunkhead on the beach. The bikini-clad girl Mac had been sitting next to immediately grows cold and distant. Mac orders the Atlas program and bulks up. Then, back on the beach, he decks the bully and hears that same girl coo, “Oh, Mac. You are a real man, after all!”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being strong or capable of defending yourself. Both are good things.

But I sure hope the brighter boys seeing that ad eventually realized that women like Mac’s sudden-turnaround admirer were way more dangerous than any beach bully could ever dream of being.

Today’s Slice question: Has tree-climbing become one of the lost arts of childhood?

A) Yes. It has been doomed by adults yelling, “Come down out of there! You’ll fall and break your neck.” B) Yes. It has been doomed by adults yelling, “Come down out of there! You’ll damage some of the small branches.” C) Yes. It has been doomed by adults yelling, “Hey, you up there! Don’t even think about me having any liability exposure here. I’m lawyered up and I have exercised due diligence by shouting at you to come down.” D) No. It thrives wherever reasonable risk-assessment flourishes. E) Yes and no. It depends on how well parents are able to bite their lips and try to allow their own children to experience an unhovered summer. F) Other.

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Check out The Slice Blog at One Slice reader heard the Monkees’ “Daydream Believer” and always thought Davy Jones was singing “My shaving razor’s cold and it stinks,” instead of “stings.”

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