MIKE KEELER: Some Seriously Slippery Summer Syllogistics

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Mike Keeler

Children are more pliable, more flexible, more resilient and more durable than adults. So they can do things adults cannot. It’s official. Not because the AMA says so. It wasn’t proven by some decades-long peer-reviewed research study conducted by orthopedists. And you won’t see it on any life insurance mortality actuarial tables. Nope, you’ll see it later this weekend in a backyard near you.

Folks will take a long sheet of plastic, and lay it out on the ground. Wet it down with a hose. Even better, slather on some Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Put on a bathing suit, or just a pair of old shorts. Back up about 20 paces, and sprint as hard as they can. Hurl themselves onto the plastic and pray for dear life there isn’t a stick, or a rock, poking up somewhere. If they’re lucky, they’ll slide madly down the plastic some 100 feet and onto the grass at the far end, in a squiggly squealing heap. Yippee.

But here’s the official part: kids can do this safely, adults cannot. Who says? The federal government, that’s who. If you look carefully on a box of Slip N Slide, you’ll find the following disclaimer from the Consumer Products Commission, dating back to 1993, “The WHAM-O slides are designed for use by children only. Use by adults and teens has the potential to result in neck injury and paralysis. Because of their weight and height, adults and teenagers who dive onto the water slide may hit and abruptly stop in such a way that could cause permanent spinal cord injury, resulting in quadriplegia or paraplegia.”

There. You’ve been warned. You’re an adult, a big, dangerous dope. It doesn’t matter how hot it is, or how long you’ve been Covid-cooped. It doesn’t matter how fun it looks. Or how many gin and tonics you’ve had. If you decide to go for a slide, you’re on your own with no legal recourse.

As for your kids, they’re officially indestructible. They can pretty much do anything they want.

Including suing WHAM-O. Yippee.

Mike Keeler