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For $245k, this space will be empty

I hope you don’t mind me breaking some sad news prematurely.

This could be my last column.

No, I haven’t been fired, laid off or picked to replace Paula Abdul on “American Idol.”

Here’s the deal. On Monday I plan to look into a new job.

Not just any job. I want one of those quarter-million-dollar-a-year teaching positions they’re handing out at WSU.

OK, I’m exaggerating.

Steven L. Hoch is only being paid an annual salary of $245,000 to teach Russian history at Washington State University.

I can live with that.

Am I the only one who geysered hot coffee out his nostrils after hearing about Hoch’s teaching windfall?

If I can land the same sweet deal, well, it’s sayonara Spokesman-Review.

True, that would mean another empty cubicle in the newsroom, not that it would make any difference. You should see my workplace now that the layoffs have taken hold. It looks like one of those end-of-the-world movies where everyone disappears except for a few shell-shocked stragglers.

But getting back to Hoch: There’s no question that I could do the same job.

I’m quite fluent in all the Russian literary masters:

Ernest Hemingwayachef, Raymond Chandlerevsky, Stephen Kingovich …

I’m also well versed in the Brothers Marx – Chico, Harpo, Gummo, Zeppo and Groucho – and that Commie Lennon who played in The Beatles.

It’s obvious that Hoch and I share the same personality credentials.

According to news stories, Hoch was a provost at the university when he acted out and caused some sort of disruption during a meeting. His behavior apparently created tension and put his job in jeopardy.

I don’t want to brag, but my readers and editors would all agree that I have been a disruptive force in the entire community, as well as the newsroom.

Despite an attempt to apologize, Hoch was relieved of his provost duties.

“A few days later,” we reported, Hoch “hired an attorney – or threatened to – to make sure that when he was removed as provost, he continued getting most of his salary, as stipulated in his contract.”

Suddenly Hoch was Washington’s best-paid state college history prof.

And here I thought the WSU football team was the area’s biggest bunch of bunglers.

The bonehead administrators who allowed this to happen have given new meaning to that old pejorative: “You’ve been Couged.”

I’m amazed no angry, pitchfork-wielding mob has been roaming the campus calling for the head of university President Elson Floyd. He has admitted to a major university mistake in not independently checking Hoch’s references.

Floyd won’t bat an eye over a $245,000 salary.

That’s Beer Nuts to this guy. After one year on the job and a 21 percent raise, Floyd is raking in – get this, folks – $725,000 a year.

Who says the economy sucks?

But, hey, if nobody cares, then move over Hoch, I’m Wazzu-bound.

Will I sell the house and move to Pullman? Lord, no. I’m greedy, not crazy.

But there is a positive side. Giving me a Hoch-sized salary would allow me to spend more money at the mall. Plus, my newfound wealth would create jobs.

Oh, yeah. Since I’d be commuting to Pullman every day, I’d need a chauffeur to drive my limo.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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