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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Losing the curse … now that would be worse

My Monday was mostly consumed by Jimmy Marks’ funeral. I even drove my car in the late-Spokane Gypsy leader’s procession.

So it’s not out of line for me to get spiritual for a moment and discuss the touchy subject of life after death.

Er, not for Jimmy.

For all his faults, Jimmy also was a deeply religious man.

What I’m talking about is the afterlife of the legendary curse he tagged on Spokane following an illegal 1986 police raid on his home and the home of his father, Grover.

Shortly after Jimmy expired last week, I heard people speculating about the following questions:

Is the curse still on?

Or did it pass away with Jimmy?

Call me an optimist, but I believe the community received its definitive answer Monday.

“The curse has gotten worse,” vowed Jimmy’s sister, Peggy Marks, of Austin, Texas, as we stood in the parking lot at the church where Jimmy’s funeral was being conducted.

True, there are some wishful-thinking peacemakers among the Marks’ clan who say the curse has been lifted.

Others, like Jimmy’s brother, Bobby, are having none of that. “The son will join the father in the curse,” he countered. “It will be twice as strong.”

The hearse later stopped in front of Spokane City Hall. The rear doors of the broad dark Cadillac were opened.

Jimmy’s son, Tommy, and others did their part to usher the late leader into our hub of local government.

It was deja voodoo all over again. Jimmy did the same thing 10 years ago when Grover went on to glory.

Far be it from me to get in the middle of a family feud. But I believe the curse is alive and well.

Mainly this is due to the fact that I don’t want to live in a curseless Spokane.

Oh, there would be benefits, I suppose.

With no curse …

“Kaiser would still be going like gangbusters.

“The Spokane Indians would be playing Triple-A baseball again.

“What River Park Square garage problems?

“Sidewalk panhandlers would say “please” and “thank you.”

“Brad Stark would be a private citizen.

Yeah. Yeah. Spokane minus the curse would be a freaking wonderland.

But what about my needs?

I’ve been writing this column three times a week since 1984. And I’ll be honest. Those first two precursor years weren’t my best.

Then came the raid and Jimmy laid the whammy on us. Suddenly Spokane was awash with political pinheads and community chaos.

I was happier than a cokehead with a pound of blow.

The Gypsy Curse made Spokane vastly more entertaining and interesting.

I can’t go back. I’d have to turn into one of those weepy columnists who natters on and on about – God save me – relationships.

But forget about me for a minute. The curse gave each and every citizen something more precious than the diamond-studded gold Rolex that I saw flashing from the wrist of one of the nattier funeral attendees.

It gave us the ULTIMATE EXCUSE.

Think about it. With the curse in place we always have something cosmic to blame.

City Council ineptitude, potholes, not-so strong mayors, Ralph Baker, Taser-happy cops, declining newspaper circulation, Randy Shaw’s mole …

Hey, it’s not our fault. It’s the Gypsy Curse!

Take that away and you know what’ll happen?

We will all have to start being accountable.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t live that way.

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