Arrow-right Camera


Then and now such worlds apart

Sun., June 7, 2009

It’s been a grave new world ever since the economy went down like a slaughterhouse steer.

Pay cuts. Depression. Sudden fits of uncontrollable wailing …

And that’s just me down here at the incredible shrinking newspaper.

Hey, did you hear the latest?

My editorial colleagues and I have been ordered to take five days of unpaid furlough.

Talk about a coincidence. The editors already made me take a furlong. I had to promise to keep an eighth of a mile away from them during work hours.

And I thought I had a stable career. Now I feel like one of the contestants on that reality TV show.

You know, “I’m a Journalist … Get Me Out of Here!”

The recession has us all floating in the same leaky washtub. Consider a few examples of how life in the Insolvent Empire has changed:

Then – Wolfing down a thick juicy sirloin at Wolf Lodge Inn.

Now – Wrestling seagulls for dropped french fries at Dick’s.

Then – Watching the balance grow on your IRA.

Now – Panhandling for a pension outside the STA.

Then – Savoring the subtle overtones of a chenin blanc.

Now – Discovering that Nyquil goes quite nicely with fish.

Then – Inviting your friends over to watch your new Samsung flat-screen.

Now – Inviting your friends over to hear an Amway sales pitch.

Then – Booking a weekend getaway at the Davenport Hotel.

Now – Sharing a room at the Union Gospel Mission.

Then – Enjoying some “me” time at a fancy health spa.

Now – Stopping by the Riverfront Park shower statue for a quick hose-off.

Then – Ordering pay-per-view championship fights on HBO.

Now – Watching City Council meetings on channel 5.

Then – Leaving a fat tip for your Spokane Club server.

Now – Fishing change out of the bus plaza fountain.

Then – Season tickets for the Spokane Symphony at the Fox.

Now – Karaoke night at just about any local lounge.

Then – Having your embarrassing nether rash looked at by a dermatologist.

Now – Having your embarrassing nether rash looked at by a Rite Aid pharmacist.

Then – Buying chic and expensive men’s cologne from Nordstrom.

Now – Getting a Brut blast from a dispenser in a gas station commode.

Then – Hiring a landscaper to manicure your yard.

Now – Borrowing neighbor Jed’s goat.

Then – Running on a treadmill at a fancy health club.

Now – Being chased through town by a drunken and gun-toting Jay Olsen.

Then – Finding that “special someone” by enrolling in a dating service.

Now – Finding that “special someone” in the bushes at High Bridge Park.

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

There is one comment on this story »