Bowen: Why kids don’t have heart attacks

Published 10:00 am Friday, May 5, 2017

I picked up a book at a garage sale several years ago with this title: “Why Kids Don’t Have Heart Attacks.” It’s a pretty good question and might do us some good to get to the bottom of it this Friday morning.

But I have to warn you: We’ll have to use our imagination. We may have to dust it off a little, but I know it’s still in good shape. So let’s dig it out, add a little oil to it, and see if it still works. Probably the more we use it the younger we’ll feel.
Now that our imaginations have been oiled and polished and in good working order, think for a moment: How are kids different from us? Or, to make it easier, how are we different now than when we were kids?

That question hurts, I know, but a little hurt won’t hurt us today.

Here’s what I remember: As a kid, I’d ride my bike all over LaGrange, up and down just about every hill. I never remember getting tired, and there were some big hills back home. In fact, I lived at the bottom of one. Just to get to Grandma’s you’d have to go up one and down three. The problem was, that to get home you had to reverse that. But I never saw it as a problem, not then, not when we were young.

Some years ago, I took up riding a bike again. I’d ride all over the neighborhood, watching kids riding along, too. The difference was, I was huffing and puffing, and the kids were laughing and chasing one another. I used to do that, too. Now I grit my teeth and chase my next breath. Then about two months later I had an issue with a certain part of the anatomy and had to have surgery, I guess all from riding that crazy bike. Ask Coca-Cola Mike, and he’ll be glad to tell you all about it.
Back in January, we decided to hit the gym again for the first time in a year and play a little basketball. We played like a wild man, too, just the way we used to play against Steve Sauter and Ken Carter and all those all-stars down at the Y. I wasn’t all bad, I must say. We hit a couple of 3’s and did a little damage around the rim with that little left-handed dipsy-doodle shot. But right now, three months later, I’m sitting here with a heating pad on the back of my chair. I’m not making this up, either.

I sure wish I was back in LaGrange, because our old buddy Jimmy Aspinwall and I would be renewing out friendship big-time right now – all because we decided we had a few more cross-over moves and fade-aways in us. Instead, I’ve renewed my friendship with a heating pad and back spasms that stretch east to west like a brilliant strike of lightning.

The problem with us is – as my good heart doctor told me nicely one day several years back – we put our energy in a whole lot of things, and we need to put more of that energy into our health. But, you know, we have obligations, and by the time they’re done we’re too tired to go out and play.

But kids are different. Kids don’t get tired, not really. They go a hundred miles an hour twelve hours a day. Then at night they holler and scream to keep from getting in the tub and going to bed. Us? We fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the Braves game and wake up in the 16th inning.

What wears kids out are things like swinging in the park and throwing a baseball and riding a bicycle and playing cowboys and Indians in the back yard and playing chase and hide-and-go-seek and sliding down tall slides and playing a game of football by themselves in the vacant lot across the street and …

You know the rest.

What wears us out is worrying about paying the bills or being concerned with what people think about us or getting frustrated over that job that’s driving us crazy or feeling anxiety from some rough spots we’re going through at home and …

You know.

That’s why we fall asleep on the couch with the score tied in the ninth while the kids are fighting sleep with every ounce in their little-bitty bodies.

Kids dread the day being over and night coming, and we dread the night being over and the day coming.

So let’s get up, and – nice and easy like – get back to walking more and worrying less. In fact, go ahead and get a few laps on the track. I’ll catch up with you as soon as I get off this heating pad.

Steve Bowen is a former Granger who lives in Red Oak Texas.