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“Come As You Are” sets the bar too low

I don’t often comment about the goings on in the big city to the West of us. I really don’t care what they do. However, the recent dust up concerning possibly doing away with their “Come As You Are” slogan and sign caught my attention. As did the recent editorial by The Daily World Editor Doug Barker concerning the situation. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the Montesano tie in shortly.

In the editorial, Mr. Barker relates the origin of the slogan and its attribution to the late grunge singer Kurt Cobain. Although, personally I doubt two or three people in the county could actually hum one of his tunes, he did make a name for himself prior to his drug and party days followed by his suicide. Put me in the not exactly a fan of the whole role model thing. That said, Mr. Barker was correct that the slogan “Come As You Are” has been adopted by their community. In my opinion — a little too much.

By placing a community emphasis on underachievement you tend to grow a crop of, well, under achievers. Oh, come on now, just look at the place and the generation after generation of poverty. It’s actually part of their culture now. Tone is reflected by the leaders and adults of the community. Like it or not. Kids notice what is going on. What kind of behavior is acceptable in society. Perhaps, and most importantly, what is expected of them as they go through life.

Here, in Montesano, we have the complete opposite in general tone. Although we do not hang a slogan from our welcome signs, it’s there. And instead of reading “Come As You Are,” it reads “Brush Your Hair, Tuck in Your Shirt and Pull Your Pants Up.”

If a Montesano building went derelict, the Montesano City Council would immediately take action to correct it. If our streets were full of deadbeats, the situation would be dealt with. Keep trash on your lawn and generally acting like an idiot, not here.

Our schools do more than teach the basic education elements, they teach success in life and pride in yourself and your community. A “come as you are” existence may play well hanging around the bus station with your skateboard, but it is a recipe for disaster and a one-way ticket to public assistance. Not opinion, observable fact.

At this point in the column, I must state that as a result of the Barker editorial espousing the virtues of a come as you are society and ignoring the real world consequences of lowered expectation for an entire community — I have to state a major mea culpa.

I have been very vocal against the new Montesano downtown and broader re-development plans. I was wrong. Although still not a fan of the changes that are coming, the Planning Commission, as well as the City Council, are looking forward to keep our community as far away from the failed model of the town that will not be named as possible. And for good reasons.

If we as a community here in Montesano are going to continue to live and prosper in what many consider to be the jewel of Grays Harbor, we first have to buttress ourselves both in physical appearance as well as community standards.

To the Planning Commission as well as the Montesano City Council — you were right, I was wrong.

Tom Frederiksen grew up in Montesano and lives here today with an active blog at Contact him at

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