The Nose

The Nose: Undoing of Seattle Gum Wall gives Tacoma something to chew on

Jean Yang gets a helping hand from Ankur Dhar adding another wad to the Gum Wall in Seattle’s Post Alley in 2013. Their handiwork, and a million other pieces of gum, will be removed next week.
Jean Yang gets a helping hand from Ankur Dhar adding another wad to the Gum Wall in Seattle’s Post Alley in 2013. Their handiwork, and a million other pieces of gum, will be removed next week. Alan Berner

Forget last summer’s hullaballoo over Seattle imposing a $25 tax on firearms and a 5-cent tax on ammunition.

The czars of Needletown have moved beyond gun control. They’ve opened a new chapter in their radical social agenda, an audacious attempt to seize even more of the people’s freedoms.

Gum control.

Bubble gum has long been a valued commodity and a perfect symbol for the northlanders, blowhards that they are.

It all ends next Tuesday, when the Pike Place Market authoritarians will do something they’ve never done before: a complete cleansing of the landmark Gum Wall in Post Alley.

The germ-ridden mosaic measures 8 feet high and more than 54 feet wide. Now it will fall to the ground in an avalanche of unwanted wads, estimated to be more than a million strong.

And with it, the handiwork of thousands of locals, tourists and vagabond gum-chewing artists will be lost to history.

If we lived in Seattle: We’d tell city honchos they can have our Bazooka Joe when they pry it from our cold, dead fingers.

But as it turns out, the Pike Place Preservation & Development Authority doesn’t intend to end the Gum Wall tradition. It just wants to give the bricks a thorough steam-cleaning and start over with a blank canvas.

Trip Advisor has declared Seattle’s Gum Wall the second-germiest tourist attraction in the world, behind only Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

The Gum Wall, on its Facebook page, sounds relieved about the new beginning.

“I have to admit, after 20 years, I’m feeling a little icky, sticky and in desperate need of a good scrubbing to make me sparkle again,” it says.

Fair enough, Gum Wall. But who will care for your legions of fallen offspring — once so fresh and flavorful, now hardened by time and neglect?

Here’s where Tacoma enters the picture.

We’ve already imported Seattle’s sick leave policies, and now their minimum wage manifesto. Their gun taxes can’t be far behind.

We’re stuck with their traffic, like a lump of goo on our shoe.

Lord knows we’ve taken their guff for well over a century. We might as well take their gum, too.

1,000 things Tacoma could do with old gum: The Nose can dream up ideas faster than you can say “Hubba Bubba.” But due to space constraints, we’ll just give you seven.

▪ Recycle it into polymer material for filling potholes.

▪ Recycle it into new line of gobstopper candy at the Brown & Haley factory.

▪ Make creative ball markers for Chambers Bay golf course.

▪ Remake former Graffiti Garages on Broadway into Gum Graffiti Garages.

▪ Open new exhibit at Tacoma Art Museum: the Haub Family Collection of Western American Gum.

▪ Build another colorful walkway spanning Interstate 705: The Chihuly Bridge of Gum.

▪ Cover roof of Tacoma Dome with an all-bubblegum rendering of the Andy Warhol flower.

Who says paint or an adhesive decal is the only way to bring this to life? (Staff file.) 
Who says paint or an adhesive decal is the only way to bring this to life? (Staff file.)

Now that’s what we call pop art.

Up in smoke: Remember Nick Lachey? The former reality TV star and Tacoma Rainiers part-owner saw his latest money-making scheme get snuffed out this week.

 
Would-be weed tycoon.

It’s been a long, strange trip for Lachey, who was associated with the Rainiers from 2006 to 2011. He went from fronting a boy band in the late ‘90s to fronting Ohio’s marijuana-legalization ballot measure that was defeated Tuesday.

The measure would’ve created a monopoly for Lachey, who grew up in Cincinnati, and a handful of other would-be weed tycoons who invested in 10 designated large-scale pot farms, according to the Washington Post.

This is the most beautiful part of the country, in my mind.

Nick Lachey, in 2007 interview talking about Tacoma after a celebrity softball game

For what it’s worth, Nick, you’re still welcome in Tacoma. Here in the 253, you can realize your dreams of becoming a marijuana mogul. And with ganja this powerful, you’ll forgot why you ever left.

Idle hands: God bless America, the election is over. Citizens can now throw away the Pierce County voters pamphlet with a clear conscience.

 
Our favorite voters pamphlet cover shot, hands down. (Courtesy Pierce County Elections.)

We liked this year’s model because of its creepy cover shot. The disembodied hand in a mailbox felt like a Halloween tribute to Thing from “The Addams Family.” Next year, we’re hoping for Uncle Fester.

As the final ballots are counted, a loud “bravo” goes out to all those who bothered to do their civic duty — a whopping 32 percent of registered voters. Give yourselves a hand.

The other 68 percent? Give yourselves the finger.

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