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The Slice: A learning experience was par for the course

Mon., June 23, 2014

Once upon a time, long before the Internet, there was a way boys could learn a few things about girls.

It was called miniature golf. And it was a popular setting for “not really a date” dates involving kids who were about 13 or 14.

I’m quite sure contemporary lads would gag at the idea of spending time that way. But as is so often the case when today’s young people evaluate the merits of a life with far fewer electronic screens, they have no idea what they are missing.

Among other things, the coed miniature golf get-together taught boys that …

• Some girls knew how to swear.

• When certain girls really concentrated on a putt through the windmill, their faces got all scrunched up in a way that was oddly beguiling.

• When you saw a girl you admired silently evaluate the other boy in your foursome while he was being a petulant jerk about his own poor play, you realized that was not a look you wanted aimed at you.

• When you noticed a girl standing a certain way in just the right light, you realized there was no going back – ever – to the way you viewed life in grade school.

• Some girls are really funny. (Mock indignation at your third straight hole-in-one might not qualify as gut-busting humor, but it can seem pretty droll if you are a 13-year-old boy.)

• Certain laughter is a sound worth hearing.

• When it was somehow revealed in conversation that a girl was wearing an all-new outfit, it would occur to brighter lads that her whole air of insouciance was quite possibly a bit of an act, if not full-blown feminine wiles.

• Handing a girl a post-golf ice-cream cone can feel astonishingly grown up.

OK, I realize that’s just half the story. So let me ask. What did girls learn about boys when playing miniature golf back shortly after the last ice age?

Warm-up question: What one piece of advice would you give a child who has suddenly gotten interested in gardening?

Today’s Slice question: If your generation had a label other than the one widely used today, what would you like it to be?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Canada Day is next week … will you be interfacing with poutine?

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