High Desert Hoofbeats
by Sena Taylor Hauer
Jan 16, 2014 | 1097 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We live in a small state population-wise, but we’re odd enough at times to make us largely infamous. I’m always a bit self-conscious when we make national headlines, which we did at least three times last week, first with the same-sex marriage issue, and second with a story about a now-deceased guy who worked at a sperm-donation fertility clinic in Salt Lake and decided it would be OK to secretly father a number of children by swapping the wrong sample. The third story was about a 50-something woman, also from up north, who is carrying her grown daughter’s fetus because her daughter’s body won’t handle a pregnancy. It’s weird, personal stuff spread all over the news and it tells the world what strange things go on here.

I don’t really care what anyone thinks of our state, but I do care that our elected leaders make us look myopic and un-accepting. That simply isn’t the case for a good percentage of Utah residents. The fight goes on, though, with our governor securing a stay via the Supreme Court to put on hold a federal judge’s recent decision to permit gay marriages.

I suspect gay marriage in Utah, and in the rest of the nation for that matter, will be legalized at some future time, but not before our state shows its skills at being backward and selective in its definitions of what kinds of people are OK and what kinds aren’t. The times they are a changin’, but not if Utah has anything to say about it.

What hasn’t been selective with the population this winter are the cold and flu bugs that are going around. Seems people everywhere have been getting sick since November, with nasty illnesses preying on all sorts of unsuspecting victims.

I knew something was amiss with me on Christmas morning when I awoke with a gurgling tummy and no appetite. Achy joints and a little fever relegated me to the couch for the quietest Christmas I ever hope to spend. It was a mild case of undiagnosed ugliness, compared to the degree of suffering I am hearing from other friends and family who have become ill, but it was no fun. I wonder if the flu shot I had in November kept me from getting more sick, but I’ll never know. The flu shot seems to be almost as controversial as Utah laws, but at least people have a private right to decide whether to get one or not.

Many folks refuse to get a flu shot because they feel it doesn’t help them or that it causes them to become sick. The shots haven’t hurt me yet, and quite possibly they’ve kept me healthier. I’m not a paranoid person. I don’t go out of my way to eat organic fruits and vegetables and I rarely wash an apple before chomping into it. I don’t really care who is listening to my cell phone calls or looking at my email. I’m not a freak about washing my hands. If my body wasn’t exposed to germs it wouldn’t know how to fight them.

Besides, this time of year there is a great risk in suffering the worst pain of all, simply by washing one’s hands too often. I have lain awake at night with throbbing pain in my body that may have been averted if I’d been able to keep my hands dry. This pain interferes with almost everything I do, from opening the mail to turning a knob and putting on gloves. And if you have dry skin like I do, you know the cause: those teeny tiny cracks on the tips of your fingers that seem to have more exposed nerve endings than any other place on the body.

Utah laws may not hurt me. The flu shot may or may not keep me from getting deathly ill or from spreading an epidemic. But those little cracks on my fingertips, they hurt, but there’s no law or shot to make them go away.

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