October 17, 2008 in Features

The Slice: It’s a good bet many fans have called audibles

By The Spokesman-Review

I haven’t seen any studies.

But maybe there is an upside to the struggles of Northwest football teams this fall. Perhaps more people here are heading outside and getting some exercise on weekends instead of staying in and watching sports on TV.

There’s something to be said for loyally supporting your team, win or lose. Still, getting up off the couch sounds like a good play on a just-right autumn afternoon.

•Shocking admission: I was watching a local news show the other night when a young reporter/anchor who is a relative newcomer volunteered with childlike innocence that she likes snow.

I guess Spokane’s winter wimps haven’t beaten her down yet.

•Round up the usual suspects: If we cross paths on the sidewalk or in a store and I seem to be giving you a funny look, don’t worry.

I’m just wondering if you are a thief.

Nothing personal, mind you. It’s just that I hear so many stories about stolen property that it has become unavoidable to conclude that there must be lots of petty crooks in our midst. So many, in fact, that we must occasionally stand next to them in checkout lines or see them idling at a stop light in the next lane.

So sometimes I see a stranger and wonder: Is that one of the bad guys?

Now don’t get me wrong. Spokane is a fine place in many ways.

Personally, I think the city is home to some of America’s best-looking grandparents. And I like how even little kids here know how to put up a tent.

But it’s also true that Spokane is cursed with the presence of a lot of people who don’t seem to understand that stealing is wrong.

If I printed every reader-submitted story about thefts that I receive, I’d have to change the name of this column to Rip-offs Roundup.

I value the convenience of living in a city. But it’s no wonder that many people want to get far away from population centers. After all, experience shows that some sadly significant percentage of the people in town wouldn’t think twice about walking off with anything that’s not bolted down.

There are thieves out in the country, too, of course. Just not quite so many.

So, anyway, if you see me looking at you with a skeptical expression, don’t sweat it. I try to resist profiling. So I’m willing to believe that almost anyone is a potential thief.

Given what we know about life in Spokane, that just seems fair.

•Warm-up question: Ever overheard a friend, family member or co-worker describing your appearance to someone who has not met you?

•Today’s Slice question: In all of the Inland Northwest, in locales where people still vote in person, what is the single most Norman Rockwell-like polling place?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail pault@spokesman.com. What Netflix DVD has languished unwatched for the longest time at your home?

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