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Earth Day drive leads to environmental hazard

Tue., April 23, 2013, midnight

Monday was Earth Day, the day we all try to show our friends and neighbors just how much more we care about saving the planet than they do.

A good way to do this, by the way, is to work certain ecological words like “chlorofluorocarbons” or “Al Gore” into your casual conversation, such as …

“If that Al Gore gets any fatter he’ll look like a chlorofluorocarbon-filled float in a Macy’s parade.”


Anyway, I used to pretend to go “green” by mowing and watering my lawn, trimming my hedges and picking up yard waste.

Then I discovered that there are people in the community who, for the right amount of green, will go green for you.

This has allowed me to devote myself to even bigger eco-projects, like getting my grime-covered 1967 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser back on the road.

My cherry red station wagon has been out of commission even longer than Mariner bats.

The last time I drove it was back in December. My lovely wife, Sherry, and I used it to haul the Clark family Christmas tree.

Four months of neglect hadn’t enhanced the Vista Guzzler’s appearance any.

Embedded into the thick dirt were dozens of paw prints left by promiscuous neighborhood cats that treat my open garage like a, well, cathouse.

So on Earth Day morning I slid behind the wheel and gave the key a twist.

“Reeeaaarrreeaaareee …”

The hideous wailing caused me to gasp. I’m no wildlife expert, but it could have been a marmot caught in the fan belt.

Whatever it was, I hope it was biodegradable.

I quickly turned the ignition off and checked my jeans for any signs of a toxic waste dump.

Once composed and reassured, I tried again. This time, to my delight, the big Detroit V-8 fired up with the unmistakable thirsty rumble I know only too well.

A lot of haters think my Vista Cruiser is a menace to the biosphere because of the way it gets virtually no mileage while swilling gas like a drunk on a bender.

Even Sherry thinks I should sell it and get something more economical like, say, an ore truck.

To me, however, the wagon is a great energy saver.

As long as it runs, I don’t have to waste any energy talking to slippery car salesmen.

One $12 trip through the car wash later and – WOW! – the Vista Guzzler was gleaming like a hooker in hot pants.

Not wanting to waste any more Earth Day, I decided to take a cruise and look for ways to make Spokane a more environmentally lovely place to live.

Not that we’re all that bad.

Spokane, I’m proud to report, is one of few cities using sustainable woods to board up the crackhouse windows.

And speaking of cops, I hear SPD stun guns will soon be solar-powered, which should be of great comfort to, say, a carjacker who cares about his carbon footprint.

My Earth Day motoring was not unproductive, either.

At the intersection of Third and Howard I was confronted with a sight that has been befouling the environment for years.

I’m referring to that frightening “King of Glory” mural that leers at freeway traffic from the south side of the old Pioneer Pathway House building.

The gigantic mural depicts an angry crowned and cadaverous-looking zombie king astride a white horse.

Now I’m sure that to someone this, ahem, “artwork,” is rich with religious significance.

I’d also bet that all this religious significance has caused a legion of visitors to Spokane to gawk and gasp …

“Holy crap. What’s THAT!?!”

Even the horse looks homicidal.

A friend suggested that it might be an Enumclaw horse, which would explain the pained expression.

Now, I’m usually a huge supporter of artistic expression, be it cathedral window or Penthouse centerfold.

But for the betterment of the Lilac City, I think it’s time for the King of Glory to ride off to Colbert.

Or Spangle.

Or lord knows where.

If it’s still there next Earth Day, how about we all meet downtown for an environmental cleanup project?

You bring the ladders. I’ll buy the green paint.

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

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