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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: Oh, the Places You’ll (possibly) Go

Paul Turner (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Paul Turner (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

I first asked this question back in 1996.

A Dr. Seuss book inspired by life in Spokane would have been called what?

Readers’ answers included “Greenacres and Spam,” “There’s a Pothole in My Street,” “You Can’t Go to the Zoo in Spokaloo!” and “Green light, Yellow light, Red light – GO!”

Then there was “Oh, The Places You’ll Never Go.”

I got to thinking about that last one the other day. And I wonder if it might actually be more than just a laugh line.

You know, maybe you can tell something about Spokane residents by finding out where they have never been.

Just consider.

When you learn that someone in Spokane has not been to Las Vegas, what assumptions do you make?

Perhaps you draw one of these conclusions about that person.

1. Has little or no interest in frolics that, if they took place in Las Vegas, would ideally stay in Las Vegas.

2. Recoils from the trend of dropping the “Las” in the city’s name to affect some ersatz brand of style. Even the hockey team’s official name appears to be the Vegas Golden Knights. Please.

3. No interest in gambling, boxing, cartoon architecture or reenacting the relationship between Fredo Corleone and Moe “Got something in my eye” Greene in “The Godfather.”

4. Prefers to “Buy local” when it comes to prostitution.

5. Fears that going to Las Vegas requires mandatory plastic surgery and creepy fake tans.

6. Can’t really get into the idea of going there ironically.

7. Would rather be waterboarded than see an elaborate stage show there.

8. Assumption that sooner or later Nevadans are going to run out of water and will be casting a covetous gaze in our direction.

9. Don’t love America or are simply content to watch movies such as “Ocean’s 33” or “Viva Whatever.”

10. Innate Spokane fear of tipping.

Or what about Hawaii? Suppose someone in Spokane has never been to Hawaii. Does that simple fact suggest one of these conclusions?

1. Cannot afford it.

2. Doesn’t like the idea of the plane going down in the Pacific and all the passengers being ripped apart by frenzied sharks.

3. There were some good air fares available back when the original version of “Hawaii Five-0” was still new, but that window has closed.

4. Afraid of going to jail for what might happen if other tourists at the USS Arizona Memorial did not conduct themselves in a respectful way.

5. Afraid that, instead of giving the hang-loose “shaka sign,” they will mistakenly give the somewhat testier “Spokane sign,” which requires one less finger.

6. Shyness about inability to surf, pronounce “lei” or play the ukulele.

7. Been afraid of tiki torches ever since hair caught on fire that one time.

8. Pineapple: Can take it or leave it.

9. Often dons a Detroit Tigers cap but is afraid doing so in Hawaii would make people assume the wearer is trying to look like “Magnum, P.I.”

10. Prefer to stay home and watch “From Here to Eternity” again.

Or what about Spokane residents who have never been to the Oregon Coast? What can you conclude about them? Why haven’t they made that trip?

1. Have heard the water is cold.

2. Worries about Fukushima radiation.

3. Isn’t that where they exploded that whale carcass with dynamite, sending sizable chunks of rotting leviathan hither and yon?

4. Have heard that you are not allowed to enter Oregon if you aren’t wearing apparel adorned with the Nike swoosh.

5. The connection between leaving home and getting burglarized.

6. Intimidating sea birds.

7. Don’t really understand the bottles/cans deposit law there.

8. Considerably fewer tsunamis in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

9. Just haven’t gotten around to going yet.

10. Spend all their vacation time in Hawaii and Las Vegas.

This could go on and on.

I remember, many years ago, making a column item out of stories about people in Spokane who had never visited Seattle.

One guy, and I’m relying on memory here, said something along the lines of “Why would I want to?”

I didn’t know what to tell him.

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