November 16, 2007 in Features

The Slice: Blackout could be a bright idea

Paul Turner The Spokesman-Review
 

I have a bold proposal.

Before spelling it out though, I want to acknowledge that it has zero chance of gaining acceptance. None.

Here’s my idea.

What if this coming Christmas season, the Spokane area did without outdoor holiday lights?

Then each family could estimate the savings on their November and December electricity bills and donate that amount to a deserving charity.

On a per-household basis, it would not be a huge amount of money. But piled all together, it might amount to something.

I’m bringing this up now, because a few early birds already have their decorations up. And by this time next week, the annual drain on the power grid will be officially under way.

OK, raising a few bucks for worthy causes sounds fine. But the real value of this one-time exercise would be consciousness-raising.

You see, if we did without the lights for one year, it might nudge us toward more challenging ways of celebrating the season.

Think about it. Each time we noticed “Hey, there are no lights” we would be reminded that this is the Christmas Spokane decided to not just go through the motions.

This is the year we decided to get creative.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m no Grinch about holiday lights. Like everybody, I enjoy how they look after a snowfall.

It’s fun to get in the car after dark and tour neighborhoods where residents went nuts.

But if we did without the lights just once, maybe we would be prodded to look inside ourselves to find new and unexpected ways to illuminate the season.

Of course, we would have to designate some spokespersons to deal with the network TV correspondents.

TV hairdo: “So has Spokane turned its back on holiday festivity? As I drive through your hardscrabble town, I can’t help but notice a certain dreariness, a lack of red and green lights and neon candy canes. Has Spokane become Scrooge-can?”

Local spokesperson: “No, you facile twit. We cherish Christmas here. It’s just that we decided, as a city, to let the light shine from our hearts this year. Every time we note that we have done without the holiday glimmer…”

TV hairdo: “An angel gets its wings?”

Local spokesperson: “We’re done here.”

Like I said, it will never happen.

And to tell the truth, I would miss the holiday lights.

I do find myself wondering, though. How would we acknowledge the season if our answer wasn’t in a box in the basement?

“Today’s Slice question: Do you have a friend who disagrees with you about politics 100 percent of the time?


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