AP NEWS

Paul Turner: Maybe ‘Spocaine’ wouldn’t be so bad after all

January 15, 2019

I know it’s a little late in the day to propose throwing in the towel on this.

But what if we just agreed to go ahead and pronounce the name of our city “Spocaine”?

Yes, I realize that would mean surrendering a lot of hard-won gains on insisting people elsewhere pronounce “Spokane” the way we do here. But perhaps we are never going to see total victory on that front and be able to declare mission accomplished.

Every time you think you have heard “Spocaine” for the last time, it pops up again.

Let’s face it. That’s never going to change.

As long as Spokane is spelled the way it is, some people in Ohio and North Carolina are going to see that “e” at the end and follow the rule of phonetics/grammar. Which would be to pronounce the second syllable “ain,” not “ann.”

People here have talked about changing the spelling. You know, lopping off the “e” and tacking on “Falls.” But for some reason, that never seemed to capture the imagination of the majority.

We don’t like change. I get it.

But adopting the “Spocaine” pronunciation wouldn’t have to feel like yielding to tyranny.

Instead of thinking of this as a defeat, we could liken it to a strategic retreat or rebranding.

No, I’m not proposing this just so our civic promotional efforts can get in sync with an old Eric Clapton song about cocaine.

She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie – Spo-kane.

Yes, this change would mean we no longer would be able to refer lyrically to the Lilac City as “The Can.” But I suspect that’s a sacrifice we could endure. Moreover, marketers could certainly do something, rhyming-wise, with “feeling no pain” or “we don’t get the rain.”

How about “Insane in Spo-kane”? “You don’t have to stay in your lane in Spo-kane”?

I just think the energy devoted to wrangling with this bad-penny issue could be better applied to other endeavors. Just imagine. If we weren’t having to correct people’s pronunciation of Spokane, maybe we could change the world in any number of positive ways.

And maybe have time left over to address the various ways people spell “Coeur d’Alene.”

Reasons people in Spokane who might benefit from yoga decline to sign up

Concern that the noises you make while stretching might sound like an assault in a penitentiary shower room.

Granddaughter won’t let you borrow her naptime mat.

Assumption that you would be the only Trump supporter attending the session.

You would rather stick with your current status of being stiff, inflexible and immobile.

Today’s retirement tip

Longtime reader Walt Lindgren offered this.

“Only take retirement advice from a certified financial planner, a licensed medical practitioner, or someone like me. I retired at age 62, about 14 years ago, and absolutely enjoy it. People who have been retired 10 years or more can give experienced advice. Other people are offering you unknowing opinions based on projections and prophecy.”

This isn’t about forming a new state

We all deserve a rest from those discussions.

But has anyone ever wondered about Spokane seceding from the rest of Eastern Washington and existing as an independent entity, perhaps affiliated with Western Washington? It could be like Hong Kong or some freestanding Grand Duchy.

It’s not really an original idea. Quite a few years ago, someone writing at either Slate or Salon proposed that the majority of the United States could gain some progressive momentum by seceding from the South.

You make the call

Decades ago, writer Calvin Trillin proposed a novel gift idea.

He would offer to follow a chosen news story for a friend. That is, he would absolve his friend of any responsibility for keeping abreast of developments pertaining to some ongoing matter of public interest. And he would then update this acquaintance on the aforementioned story only when developments reached some specified climax or conclusion.

As I recall, one example of the “This is when I would want you to update me” threshold was a thermonuclear exchange.

Anyway, here’s my question. If someone offered you this gift, what local news story would you choose to have your friend follow for you? And at what point would you want that friend to bring you back into the loop?

I’ve asked this before, 10 or 20 years ago, and enjoyed seeing the responses. Readers seemed to recognize that something can be somewhat important but also tedious.

Contact the writer at srpaulturner@gmail.com.