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Clark: Lighten down, people; Thanksgiving’s 2 weeks away

Today we address that frustrating antisocial seasonal disorder known as PI.

Or, to put it in scientific terms, “Premature Illumination.”

The symptoms are easy to spot. Those afflicted with PI are the neighborhood bozos who put up their outdoor Christmas lights and decorations TOO DAMNED EARLY!!!

As I write this, Thanksgiving is still two weeks away.

This is the traditional time when parents tape their kid’s scribbled crayon drawings of pilgrims to the refrigerator and then proudly call relatives to brag that they’ve sired another Rembrandt.

This is the time for menu planning and adorning the house with dried multicolored corncobs and those weird warty gourds.

This is the time when I dream about pie even more than usual.

This is NOT the time to switch on your roofline icicle lights!

Unfortunately, there are miscreants among us who have absolutely no sense of decoration decorum.

Take a drive at night and you’ll see what I mean.

There are homes already glowing like Clark Griswold’s joint in that holiday documentary, “Christmas Vacation.”

One night last week I was vegging out in front of the TV (there’s a shocker) when my lovely wife, Sherry, called from her car.

By the panic in her voice I thought she might have encountered one of the South Hill’s marauding moose.

“You won’t believe it,” she told me. “But I just passed a house that is already lit up and decorated for Christmas.”

Then she paused a moment and said, “Oh, my gosh. There’s another one!”

People. This behavior is simply unacceptable.

Now I’m a liberal-minded man. I believe in personal liberty.

I don’t care what an adult does in the privacy of his own abode.

If you want to put up your Christmas tree in July and sit around listening to over-produced Mannheim Steamroller elevator music in a crotchless elf costume, hey, who am I to judge?

But every society must have rules. And one of those ironclad edicts should be …

No inflicting your cheesy outdoor Christmas glitz on the rest of us until Thanksgiving is over.

OK. I’ll grant you a reprieve for Thanksgiving night. But the turkey must be eaten and the leftovers stowed away in the Tupperware.

Without strict holiday celebration rules, a nation will descend into chaos.

Take what I witnessed while driving home Friday night.

I passed a home with an appropriate Thanksgiving theme set up in the front yard.

Then less than a half-block away was a house with Christmas lights shimmering. A few blocks later I spotted a Halloween pumpkin moldering on a porch.

See, this is why America is in such a horrible mess.

We’re trillions in debt and don’t know how to get out of it. We’re mired in a war in Afghanistan and don’t know how to get out of it.

We’re still in Iraq and who knows when we’ll get out of it.

Santa Claus is coming to downtown Spokane a week before Thanksgiving, for crying out loud.

We are one ($%#$%#)-up, confused culture.

And the confusion started, I believe, way back when the first premature illuminator decided to stick up his inflatable outdoor Santa Homer three weeks before Turkey Day.

Should we look to the government for help?

Maybe when hogs fly. Spokane takes longer to pave a downtown street than the Egyptians took to build the pyramids.

No, people, it’s up to us. And so I urge all of you concerned citizens to join the fight against PI by creeping into these lit-up yards and …

Pulling the plugs!

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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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.