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The Slice: Doses of reality can be difficult to overlook

Mon., Aug. 15, 2011, midnight

Let’s say you want desperately to cling to the smug little notion that people here are somehow better, kinder, more compassionate or more generous than residents of other cities.

For whatever reason, you aren’t satisfied to live in a place that has roughly the same cross-section of society’s saints and sinners as other parts of the country. No, it’s important to you that Spokane be considered superior.

How do you accomplish that?

Well, the real trick is developing selective memory. This is a sophisticated version of denial.

Now remembering the good things that people here do is easy. There is a lot of it, from simple little courtesies to bold acts of love and support.

Retaining recollections of these uplifting highlights is a pleasure. And it’s only right to do so. There are, after all, many brave, thoughtful people here.

The challenge comes with forcing yourself to forget actions and behaviors from the other end of the spectrum. You know, astonishingly heinous crimes, petty stupidity, breathtaking selfishness, pointless belligerence, et cetera.

That’s not easy. Still, there are those among us who have managed to do this.

You know those people continually surprised and appalled anew by the latest acts of brainless vandalism, cruelty to animals, interpersonal vulgarity, hit-and-run driving and so forth? Sure. Well, they have mastered the art of blanking out the ample evidence that Spokane has its share of miscreants.

Installing such a filter on your memory allows you to remember when some stranger bought a kid a new bike while simultaneously enabling you to forget the reason this was necessary in the first place (some loser stole the child’s birthday present).

We can debate why some look away from the negatives in this manner. Is it insecurity prompted by the horrifying thought that Spokane might not be special and therefore the individual in question might not be either? Is it a need to hold on to a vision of the mythic past?

Who knows. But you can’t really blame them.

We’ve all glimpsed reality, and sometimes it’s hard to take.

Today’s Slice question: What is this area’s funniest Web address?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Check out The Slice Blog at www.spokesman.com. Pepper on cottage cheese?

 
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