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Dougbench not a victim of crime – yet

A proud Spokanite, Larry Jess wanted to show off the finer points of his hometown to his visiting friend, Tony Scodwell.

So one summer day, Jess took the Las Vegas musician and trumpet maker downtown to gaze upon my bus bench advertisement, aka the Dougbench. To their astonishment, the sacred landmark across from the Spokane County Courthouse had vanished like Phillip Paul at the fair.

“A huge disappointment,” offered Jess.

I’ll say. Outside of abducting the garbage goat, I can’t think of a more horrific loss to the lilac landscape.

The Dougbench was unveiled in May on the southwest corner of Broadway and Jefferson in a spirited and slightly sarcastic ceremony. The ad features a large color photo of my grinning countenance along with a brief message on behalf of world literacy.

“Wake Up and Read Me.”

Sadly, dozens of frustrated pilgrims have contacted me to report the Dougbench disappearance.

One infidel had the gall to ask if I’d made the whole thing up.

What nerve.

The Dougbench, alas, was done in by the city’s bus-bench jihad.

I won’t rehash all the bureaucratic bungling. Suffice it to say that my bench was harvested along with scores of others in the downtown business core.

A Florida-based firm is supposedly in line for the new and approved bench deal.

So now we’re helping the Florida economy.

Why the taxpayers don’t storm City Hall with pitchforks and burning torches, I’ll never know.

After giving some thought to the future of the Dougbench, I have decided to do what Hollywood always does.

Get ready for Dougbench – The Sequel.

On Wednesday I met Rhonda-T Warren in a burger joint parking lot. Rhonda-T is sales manager for Emerald Outdoor Advertising. Soon we were cruising East Sprague looking for a new Dougbench home.

Yeah, you heard me. East Sprague.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking East Sprague is not a suitable place for the dignified Dougbench. East Sprague is all about tube tops and women of negotiable virtue.

True. But the big bus-bench purge didn’t leave me with great real estate choices.

And so I have decided on the bench at Sprague and Napa. This bench is conveniently located a short hike away from the Rainbow Tavern.

The artwork will be installed in the next couple of days. The first five readers who e-mail creative photos of the new Dougbench to me will each win a rare copy of “Singin’ the News,” a collection of all my parody songs.

I have decided against having another unveiling party.

However, I may equip my bench with a coin-operated Magic Fingers mattress. Hey, as long as I’m on East Sprague I might as well get a cut of the action.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman- Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or dougc@spokesman.com.


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