Arrow-right Camera


Summertime in Spokane just ain’t what it used to be

SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 2008

Hi gang! It’s summer again in the Inland Northwest.

And with another Great Depression looming, many of you are “staycationing” close to home and trying to figure out what you can actually do for fun.

Well, I wish ol’ Doug could offer you some hope.

But around here this year “summer” rhymes with “bummer.”

For example …

You could always catch a cool art film.

Except the Magic Lantern Theatre just closed.

Or you could go laugh your troubles away.

Except the Brickwall Comedy Club just closed.

You could always take a refreshing drive to Mount Spokane State Park.

Except construction projects have closed the road. The only thing still open in this town is the free homeless shower that sprays water near the opening of Riverfront Park.

Sorry. You won’t catch me bathing in that metal monstrosity until the city finishes the job and installs soap dispensers.

Back when I was a kid there were plenty of cheap thrills to be had during summer in Spokane.

One of my favorite activities involved pedaling my red and white Schwinn American bicycle down 17th with my brother’s .22 rifle slung over a shoulder.

No kidding. I’d ride east past the Ranch Market to a semi-secluded gravel pit. Then my pal Randy and I would while away the afternoon plinking at tin cans.

Try that today, and you’d be Tasered, clubbed and hogtied by cops faster than we get rid of mayors.

Aw, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. These are grim financial times we’re living in.

How bad is the economy?

All the Dollar Stores recently became Dollar Thirty-Seven Stores.

Gas prices are so high that Meals on Wheels is now Meals on Rickshaws.

That change has been what you’d call a mixed success. While the meals organization has achieved impressive fuel savings, several octogenarians starved waiting for lunch.

Yep, just about every Spokane-area institution is facing cutbacks.

Hoopfest has reluctantly reduced the size of its hoops by 10 percent for next week’s event.

Officials are predicting some pretty low-scoring games.

Even so, the shooting will be sharper than the lousy Lakers in the last game of the NBA Finals.

Everybody I know is recycling empty cans and old bags.

A local casino, for example, is bringing back Debbie Reynolds.

You could save money on a gym membership and get in shape this summer by jogging.

Think again.

Rick Roddis, a South Hill resident, just e-mailed me the following story about a recent Sunday run in the Manito Park area.

“I had just crossed over 27th and Grand… when a small car drove by slowly and the driver was holding up a sheet of paper with writing on it.”

Roddis ignored the car and focused on his exercise.

The man, Roddis wrote, circled the block and “drove by again, even slower.”

Eventually, Roddis was able to make out a question that was scrawled on the sign.

It read:

“Do you want a … (vulgar term for oral sex)?”

Now isn’t that just dandy. A guy can’t enjoy a contemplative run on the Sabbath without receiving a drive-by sex solicitation.

Roddis did what any family man wearing running shoes would do. He made like the roadrunner and set a new land speed record for home.

In doing so I think Roddis inadvertently supplied the answer to today’s question. This summer we should all …

1. Lock the doors.

2. Draw the drapes.

3. Stay in bed until fall.

Oh, one last thing. In his shock Roddis was apparently unable to memorize the license plate.

So he wasn’t able to find out if the pervert was a federal, state or local Republican officeholder.

Click here to comment on this story »