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Population Growth And Who Makes A Difference.

Bill Gates via

Bill Gates via

One joy of being a semi-fit baby boomer with kids is following them to the gym.

If you workout with millennials, be ready for the comments.

“We’re going to lift a little heavier than you’re used to.”


“Machines are for rookies and exercise people. We lift. We pump iron.”

If a kid can bench press their weight ten times with good form, they’re worth listening to.

One day, dressed in layers of sweats and finishing with snow pants and a parka for extra heat, I lifted with my youngest kid.

An older man sidled up and asked if I liked hot weather.

“Do you like to sweat?”

Since I was already sweating like a horse, I said yes.

“You like the heat?”

Again, yes.

“Do you like pushing weights?”

I felt a kicker coming, but I played along and said yes.

“You do know there is one exercise you’re not doing right?”

Here it comes. If you’ve gone to the same gym long enough, you’ve seen and heard the know-it-alls. I just hoped this old bird’s comments were better than most.

If I painted a picture of this man, he’d look like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons but with dyed hair and teeth bleached so bright they’d make Suze Orman squint.

“What exercise am I doing wrong?” I asked.

“It’s pretty obvious. You’re not pushing away from the dinner table soon enough.”

This is an old man, old enough to fit into the ‘respect your elders’ box. He had the skin, hair, and slump of a ninety year old. Except this ninety year old hits the gym with fervor. And he talks crap. My new best friend.

I turned to my son and asked, “Did this old man just call me fat?”

“That’s what it sounded like,” he said.

Fathers of a lesser stripe have come to blows for comments like this in front of their kids. You’ve heard of little league dad, junior hockey dad, pretty much any sport dad, who takes offense and punched out another dad, or ref?

Getting spanked by a grandpa from the Greatest Generation isn’t the worst thing that could happen. No need to push the debate. Besides, he had a point. All the sweat gear made me look huge. And he’s a gym guy. Old gym guys are a reason to celebrate.

Turns out the man’s life was spent working on population growth. He said all causes are lost causes until we control population growth. A world traveler for the cause, he’s been everywhere spreading the message.

And he still had time to call me fat.

Time passed and each time I saw him he explained more about his work. He said he pioneered the idea of using serial dramas to create positive role models for change. Then he rolled out the numbers of births per woman in countries he visited.

The numbers sounded good, so I checked them.

According to the 2012 numbers from THE WORLD BANK (Working for a World Free of Poverty), the average Afghanistan woman has five kids. Angola women have six. Burundi women have six. Chad comes in at 6.4, Congo at 6, Somalia at 6.7  The leader of the pack is Niger at 7.6 births per woman. Second is Mali at 6.9.

I raised two kids who wore me out. How could I manage five more? It would take more than a few villages to raise them right.

The old man had one kid, so he walked the talk.

Is it fair to compare birth rates per woman and HIV/AIDS per country?


With only 5 per cent of the world’s population, Eastern and Southern Africa is home to half the world’s population living with HIV. Today the region continues to be the epicentre of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with 48 per cent of the world’s new HIV infections among adults, 55 per cent among children, and 48 per cent of AIDS-related deaths.

Here’s a map of the area.

Add high birth rates and high incidents of HIV/AIDS infection and you can see the need for a hero, someone solution driven to address cultures and customs in hard hit regions.

Is there such a person among us? Yes there is, and his name is Bill Gates. Yes, that Bill Gates.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded condom research to create a better barrier in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. The software superstar is making another mark on the world with even softer wear.

If the project develops according to plans, it’ll need the right spokesman to encourage use.

We have one in mind at boomerpdx.



About David Gillaspie


  1. Good stuff Dave. Just talking with a patient this morning about “too many rats in the cage” and mental health/gun related violence.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      You tell ’em, Mark. I’d be listening if you gave advice. Never fails. And you have my permission to point your patients to

      Good timing for a mental health talk.

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