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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: We all know what the leaf blower is really saying

Bill Wright, with Spokane Parks and Rec, clears the sidewalks in Manito Park along Grand Boulevard with a blower, October 27, 2009 in Spokane Wa. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Bill Wright, with Spokane Parks and Rec, clears the sidewalks in Manito Park along Grand Boulevard with a blower, October 27, 2009 in Spokane Wa. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

We’re all pretty familiar with life’s essential needs.

Food, water, oxygen, shelter … you know the list.

But in Spokane there might be another necessity that’s right up there with the sex drive and the urge to say “I told you so.”

No, not hard bargaining at yard sales.

It’s the desire to make noise – specifically, the urge to produce a racket with arguably unnecessary power tools while working out in the yard.

Perhaps it’s not just a Spokane thing. But this is where I live, so I can testify that it’s quite real here.

By the way, I’m not talking about lawn mowers. That’s an accepted soundtrack of the season.

In my neighborhood, you don’t need super-hearing to detect the distant hum of mowing pretty much from dawn to dusk.

I’m thinking more about those leaf blowers that can sound like an aircraft engine. And the various power edgers/trimmers that really need me to be part of their marketing team. Why? Because I’ve got an idea for an ad campaign that would really sell them in Spokane.

“Make your neighbor, who is trying to sleep, think he is hearing a swarm of angry killer bees! Fun for the whole family!”

That would move some product.

OK, the appeal of these gadgets is obvious. No, it’s not that they are an improvement on rakes and brooms or whatever the cavemen used.

It’s the statement they make. Like a Spokane primal scream, they announce “I am out here doing important work!”

The classic admonition for others to get off the aforementioned lawn is implied.

Some users of these outdoor tools wisely wear ear protection.

That’s so they can’t hear the guy next door yelling about the noise at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. “For the love of …”

Coming soon: What are you protesting? The joys of living near early-rising motorcycle riders.

Just wondering

Today is the anniversary of the day in 1970 when Bobby Orr scored his famous goal and the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup.

It’s the overtime winner immortalized in the famous photo of an already exultant Orr flying through the air after being tripped too late in front of the St. Louis Blues’ net. That moment has been turned into a sculpture displayed outside the arena where the Bruins now play.

To reside in New England and not recognize this date is to invite others to judge you. At least it used to be that way.

So anyway, I am wondering. Is there an equivalent date in the Pacific Northwest’s sports memory?

When I posed this same question in 2003, most responding readers ignored the sports stipulation and nominated the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens.

But I thought you said you grew up

in Hooterville?

Here’s another matter that’s probably not strictly a Spokane thing but nonetheless seems prevalent here. Perhaps you have noticed.

Some people seem to have some difficulty comprehending the idea of childhoods spent in several states.

Sure, lots of us grew up in one place – Spokane, for instance. But others moved more than once as kids.

The military and plenty of businesses required this mobility. In addition, lots of parents relocated when they switched careers.

So growing up in multiple states was not all that unusual. Still, it seems to stump some who prefer a nice, clean narrative when absorbing others’ biographies.

A matter of taste

Can you be a well-liked person not actively shunned by fashionable Spokane society if you don’t really care for craft beer?

I’m not asking for a friend.

I mean what if you have tried a variety of small-batch brews and have come to a thumbs-down conclusion?

You just don’t like it. You would rather drink what some derisively dismiss as soulless industrial swill or lawn-mowing beer.

I used to work with a guy who had respectable hipster credentials. At least compared to me. But he had one problem with craft beer. To him, it tasted like aspirin.

To each his own, of course. Some of my favorite people are seriously into craft beer. More power to ’em.

I’ve never pretended to possess a sophisticated palate. So it doesn’t bother me to be judged by others because I’m not fond of the stuff. At least I know when Bobby Orr scored the goal.

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