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Doug Clark: Steve Tucker steps up for ALS – and drags me along

Doug Clark
Doug Clark

Be wary what you wish for.

I’ve heard the cliché a zillion times. We all have.

Unfortunately, the old saying didn’t cross my mind when I used part of my Sunday column to challenge Steve Tucker to have a bucket of ice water dumped on his head on behalf of the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Little did I know that come Monday, Tucker would be giving me my second ALS ice bath in three days.

The odd fad has been a national Internet phenomenon for weeks and weeks.

But though the act of getting doused and posting the proof online is silly, there’s nothing frivolous about how this stunt has been used to raise $60 million-plus in donations for ALS research.

My first “Ice Bucket Challenge” happened last Friday thanks to state Sen. Mike Baumgartner, who doused me at Riverfront Park with a murky cocktail of Spokane River water on the rocks.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that Tucker would make good on my dare.

What I didn’t figure on was that one of his pals, Spokane attorney Richard Bechtolt, would offer to give $1,000 to the ALS Association if I would allow the prosecutor to do the same to me.

A thousand bucks for a worthy cause?

Only a heartless slob would say no.

Now, I’ve made plenty of snarky observations over the years about Tucker’s work ethic, prosecutorial performance and penchant for golf.

But politics is one thing. Charity’s another.

And so a little before 1 p.m. Monday, I met Tucker outside Luigi’s Italian Restaurant. The prosecutor proved he’s not running for re-election by showing up in a garish stretchy outfit that consisted of shorts and shirt covered with bright flames.

When I questioned his flamboyant attire, I believe Tucker said, “Put the fire out,” but I could have been hallucinating.

At least I hope I was hallucinating.

I went first. Tucker, holding the bucket behind me, made a brief speech mentioning the “nice” things I’ve said about him over the last 16 years.

At the word “16,” I lapsed into a brief shock, thinking: “Sixteen years? My god. Has Tucker been in office that long? The voters really must be addlepated …”

Then – splash – Tucker brought me back to reality by dumping a modest bucket of ice water over me.

Modest, that is, when compared to being all but drowned with funky ducky bathwater.

Bechtolt delivered, as promised. He handed me a $1,000 check along with an envelope addressed to the ALS Association’s “Gift Processing Center.”

And Tucker got his dunking, if you can call it that.

Perhaps due to overexcitement, the young man charged with baptizing Tucker all but missed the prosecutor’s dome and mainly dampened his shoulders and back.

Not gonna put any flames out that way.

Tucker, however, was a good sport to step up and get it done.

Message to Ben Stuckart and Harry Sladich, the two others I called out for this challenge: Don’t even think about it. Doug’s done his Ice Bucket duty.

• • •


A sharp-eyed reader alerted me to the fact that I may be getting senile.

In a recent email, Craig Weddle challenged the Memory Lane assertion I made about registering to vote in 1969, when I turned 18.

This appeared in last week’s Tuesday column complaining about how I’ve never been called for jury duty.

“The voting age in Washington,” wrote Weddle, “did not change to 18 until 1971.”

He’s absolutely right.

I’m absolutely wrong and I will be sending Weddle a thank-you prize for straightening me out.

The silver lining is that I haven’t been waiting 45 years to be called for jury duty.

I’ve only been snubbed for about, um, 42 years.

My poor memory is not the only thing that has Weddle concerned.

“Mr. T or you on a jury?” he added. “That’s enough to spark my imagination (and cause me worry), but your columnist’s math might need some sharpening.”

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