Special Guest Writer  

Every once in awhile, I'll get an email from my sister, cooped up in Snohomish, Washington watching over the baby and thinking about stuff, and I thought I'd post this recent one to prove that yes, it does run in the family. Enjoy.


This is a transmission from the outer-reaches of the multiverse: Snohomish, WA.

Have you ever noticed that the more "Native-American sounding" the name of a quaint suburb, the more fat white people? Snohomish is entirely compromised of churches, bars and grocery stores - not to mention the waste-of-space antique shops where fanatical fat white people who don't live in town can hobnob with urban, thin, sunglass-encased white people who don't live here. It's a strange thing, Man. This particular spot was recently granted the dubious honor of hosting film crews for some piece-of-shit weekly show. "The Fugitive" from all accounts, is a blatant rip-off of the book and the other TV show and the follow-up movie, mainly set in a quaint, South Carolina redneck town. Experts searched far and wide, finally deciding that the ever-gullible viewing audience would most associate a suburb of Everett, Washington with an adventure-encased, deep south Carolina town.

I can see the similarities. Bars, churches and fat white people are in great abundance. Shooting scenes set in South Carolina anywhere near South Carolina was evidiently out of the picture.

As a resident, I feel I'm entitled to a snide outlook, if not downright aloof contempt. Traffic was re-directed to accomodate these show-making fools, and locals and the usual tourist-influx were involved exclusively in the all-American pastime of gawking and jumping in front of cameras. The circus was drawn-out and complete. Trucks came in, parking wherever they liked, giving the pathetic Snohomish shopping district an almost Wal-Mart festivity. The historic Oxford Saloon was contracted, leaving the drunks and servers to wander about First Street, all the while supplying the gawkers with "inside information". Some genius set their silkscreen printer to work and "The Fugitive: Snohomish, WA" t-shirts became a yellow encasement for the fat white bellies milling about. Unfourtunate camera men were cornered by some of these fat bellies, and found themselves thoroughly regalled by tales of past camera men, long since gone, leaving a wake of Hollywood glam and failed shows.

It's not the first time our town council has okayed the prostituion of its image for TV's ultimate benefit. Why this town? Throughout the county, bars still advertise "Fugitive hour" where the fat bellies can re-group and point out when their favorite parking space is flashed briefly.

"I pulled a five-pounder out from under the bridge there last Spring" is heard to echo whenever the computer-enhanced opening shot sets the mood for the deep-south adventure.

I've never watched the show. I don't even have cable. Some might say that strips me of my right to bitch. After all, nobody was hurt, and the town made some money, so what's to complain about? Sure, it's ridiculous in its portrayal, but if one doesn't have local pride to start with, what's the difference? I guess it comes down to the strange silence that descended when the crews left. Hollywood, the good life, had briefly come close enough to touch, and young and old alike basked in the glow that came with it. There was a ready subject to discuss in all the bars and churches and antique shops. Strangers stuck-up conversations, each enjoying the private fantasies that accompany exposure to the almost-famous. The area was sucked into a sad reminder of how ordinary small-town life is, how routine, and that some didn't suffer from being stuck-in-place. They came, set us all to dreaming, and left.

Oh well. If it's not one thing, it'd be another. Kids used to run off and join the circus, and many of our white-trash, young, fat, suburban spawn still follow the yearly carnival out or set to "Gutter Punk"-ing across the country. I just hope the next show filmed here doesn't get cancelled in its first season.