It was Hawaiian shirt day at the Tacoma City Council meeting this week. Otherwise known as promote-a-luau day.
Flowers and leaves exploded from the dais like Ed Hume’s display garden, or like the crowd at a Jimmy Buffett concert.
The council members must’ve had to raid their closets to do their waist-up tribute to the 50th state.
Most of the time, this bunch more closely resembles residents of the 49th state — a bit frosty and stiff, slightly edgy in the manner of insomniacs coping with seasonal affective disorder.
But on this day it was all about the aloha. They put aside politics, potholes and other problems and played dress-up like high school kids during spirit week.
“What you probably can’t see is a lot of us are sitting up here in Hawaiian shirts today,” said Councilwoman Lauren Walker, who could only have been directing her comment at a blind man sitting in the back row.
The rest of us? We could see, Lauren. We definitely could see.
Casual Tuesday: David Boe was resplendent in a red floral top he must have found on the hanger next to his dress T-shirt and Versace jacket.
And youngsters Ryan Mello and Anders Ibsen? Let’s just say Garanimals has apparently designed a new line of Hawaiian boyswear.
Even normally buttoned-up Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax got into the island spirit, wearing a green short-sleeved number and prompting a roomwide giggle fit.
“I’m a little disoriented from my shirt,” he confessed.
But Mayor Marilyn Strickland stayed firmly on the mainland and showed up in a cardigan. While her colleagues checked in with “alohas,” there was none from her.
What gives, mayor? we asked via email after the meeting. As this column went to press, we were still waiting for the luau pooper to explain.
Meet you at Shakabrah, dude: It would be easy to assume the council members’ laid-back Jeff Spicoli attire was connected to an ordinance they reviewed that night.
The one legalizing bongs and other drug paraphernalia.
Nope. The Maui Wowie look was merely their way of promoting a luau that’s coming to town — a $50-a-plate fundraiser for the Hilltop Regional Health Center. (Sept. 7, noon-4 p.m., People’s Park, to register call 253-597-4550.)
Then, faster than you can say humuhumunu-kunukuapua’a, the Polynesian-dressed pols finished their meeting in a near-record 24 minutes. They hula’d out the door to enjoy the waning days of summer.
Surf’s up and it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
RIP Tacoma: Tacoma is dead.
This isn’t the first time you’ve heard those three words together. It won’t be the last.
Many T-Town teens have said “Tacoma is dead” while fleeing north on Interstate 5 on a warm summer day. Many Toyota pickup owners have said “the Tacoma is dead” while digging out the jumper cables on a cold winter night.
But this may be one of the saddest times we’ve heard it.
Tacoma was a 400-plus-pound Siberian tiger who died Sunday at an exotic wildlife sanctuary outside Dallas, Texas. A virus claimed Tacoma too soon at the age of 13. Sad.
Sadder still is that a half dozen other big cats at the refuge died of the same raging distemper. About a dozen more are sick with it.
Poor Tacoma. He survived a hernia procedure years ago and a double hip surgery last spring, only to be taken down by an invisible predator.
And Tacoma never got to see the city with whom he shared more than a name. He was a survivor, a castoff from a two-bit tiger breeder. He was a class clown, snorting bubbles in the exercise pool. He was remembered as the “soul” of those around him, in spite of (or perhaps because of?) his underdog (undercat?) status.
We miss Tacoma though we never met him.
The circle of life: Tacoma’s legacy doesn’t have to end in Wylie, Texas.
Point Defiance Zoo seems to fancy high-falutin’ foreign names for its big cats, such as Dumai, Berani and Tien.
The next time a cub is born there, we say keep it simple and stay true to your roots.
Tacoma the Tiger sounds fierce and confident, like a breakfast-cereal mascot. It’s a nostalgic throwback to the city’s pre-1995 minor-league baseball team. And it’s gender neutral, like Terry or Pat.
Tacoma is dead? Nah. Long live Tacoma!
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