Back in the days shortly after the Earth’s crust cooled, I worked for a morning newspaper in Tucson that referred to residents of that sun-baked Arizona city as “Tucsonans.”
As far as I know, that paper is still doing OK. Decades of population growth including a lot of older people doesn’t hurt circulation.
The evening newspaper in town preferred the term “Tucsonians.”
That publication went out of business last year. Coincidence? Probably.
But who knows? Maybe this stuff matters more than you might suspect.
Back in 2004, I gave Slice readers a choice.
A) Spokanites. B) Spokanians. C) Spose. D) Spokes. E) Spokaners. F) S’kanners.
(Readers subsequently added Spokanoids, Spokadians, Spokaneers and predictable spin-offs of “Spokaloo.”)
“Spokanians” got the most votes. “Spokanites” came in second.
But I’ve never sensed much enthusiasm for either option.
“Spokanite” sounds like an old-time Russian satellite or a radioactive mineral.
And “Spokanians” reminds me of a telling moment in the film version of “The Music Man.”
Mayor Shinn, played by the great Paul Ford, is addressing a group of citizens in his little Iowa town. All pumped up, he bellows “My fellow River City…zians,” noticeably stumbling on that decidedly awkward construction.
So what should we do?
I know. Let’s have a Slice contest – the first of 2010.
I’ll send a coveted reporter’s notebook or handsome S-R mug to the reader who makes the best case for what to call residents of Spokane.
Today’s Slice question: What excuse is cited most often to explain the persistently disappointing behavior of the screw-up in your family?