Upon reaching the barren, harsh, dry, uninhabitable area now known as Utah, the Mormon pioneers knew they’d found a winner. Not long after establishing Salt Lake City, Brigham Young (their leader) sent groups off to set up nearby areas. I learned that he sent those groups about a wagon’s ride away from each other, but can’t find a source for that information. Whether he did or not, there are towns all down our interstate and this makes present-day gas station stops very convenient.
What does that potentially-inaccurate history have to do with a hole in a rock? I’m glad you asked!
Sometimes, the early settlers of Utah faced challenges. Hordes of crickets threatened crops in the Salt Lake Valley in the first full year of planting. Tropic, Utah could only get irrigation after building a ten-mile long canal. And, weary members of the San Juan Expedition attempting to find a route to the southeastern corner of Utah found impassable cliffs -then, miracle of miracles, stumbled upon “a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river” (Wikipedia).
They named it Hole in the Rock. Promptly thereafter, they began chipping away in order to move 250 PEOPLE, 83 WAGONS, AND OVER 1000 HEAD OF LIVESTOCK through this hole. I kid you not.
Six months later, they were “ready;” for, the wagons still needed assistance. They used ropes, plus wooden beams supported by posts jabbed into holes they drilled in the rock walls to carefully lower the wagons.
This is another famous site I have not visited, but my son has. His youth group camped nearby and hiked the area, reimagining and experiencing what their pioneer ancestors did. If you want a similar vacation adventure, Hole in the Rock is about seven hours south of Salt Lake International Airport (or 100 hours if you walk).
Author’s note: there is also a tourist destination called Hole N” The Rock, located near Moab. It’s worth a kitschy gander.
I’ve been living in a hole -not a bad one, mind you. I have all the material comforts, I’ve given birth before my biological clock feels it missed something, and I live in a very safe area.
The recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has set me wondering, questioning my cozy hole and how much of it is that cozy. For, despite my ease, I am constantly stressed and depressed at my position as a stay-at-home-mother. I feel trapped by my sex, my children’s well-being, and the overall logic of my being the housewife and mother.
Why did learning about Mrs. Ginsburg’s life open this can of worms? If you ask that question, you haven’t read her Wikipedia page.
I tend to get all of my political information from my husband, by choice. I do not like politics, a subject that turns human beings into snarling, glaring dogs -dogs who can talk, naturally, in order to insult each other’s mothers. From Kevin, I heard how Ginsburg was anti-family and pro-abortion.She was liberal. Thank goodness we’ll get another justice soon.
Sound harsh? Don’t raise your hackles until you acknowledge what categories you place political figures in. Yes, categories. CATEGORIES are what drive me mad.
I’ve discussed this subject before, because I do not fit in and I do not like attempts to fit me in. Primarily, today, and in R.B.G.’s tiny but ignominious shadow, I refer to sex (or, gender, if you prefer) .
I recently encountered a female realtor. Dressed in a sheath and high heels, she displayed white, straight teeth and blonde-colored hair. She, like others in the profession, was selling herself. And, as I always do, I hated her for it. I disagree with dressing sexily. Would a male realtor show up in such a getup, displaying cleavage as he outlined the merits of his wares?
I also recently encountered a female repairman. Dressed in long shorts with socks and a company shirt, she smiled occasionally and her hair was short and of a nondescript color. She, like others in the profession, was selling furnace warranties. I marveled at her. She dressed and acted just like the male repairmen we’ve hosted in our basement.
Do you automatically categorize the two women? I do. The first is probably a wife and mother of a few children*, loves romance, and doesn’t know much about her car. The second is a lesbian, likes action movies, and could wire her own house if her cats stayed out of the way**.
Categories, categories, categories. They help us humans in a complex world of other humans. But, they also limit and often diminish those other humans. I feel it. Do you?
But I mentioned Ginsburg. I mentioned women. I mentioned sex.
Ruth Ginsburg is the sort of person I wondered at, as I enjoyed attending any college I wished or voted for whomever I wanted. I’d heard that women didn’t always have the freedoms I enjoyed, historically. I’d heard that women were advised to not go into this career or attend that college on the mere merits of their being born with a uterus. Mrs. Ginsburg’s life story, as I learned, attests to that rumor.
And, frankly, my own husband’s views do as well. While telling me that he values my intelligence and opinions, he simultaneously puts women down for seeking to further themselves academically or professionally. Why? Because family is most important to him, and women who choose school and work do not have large families. Many do not have families at all.
Think he’s wrong? Think he’s outdated and rude and opinionated? Think back to your perceptions of the two women I described. Morever, acknowledge that stereotypes exist because they are accurate; those women are what I described and behave accordingly.
Which brings me to another problem I encounter in my efforts of World Peace and Unity in the face of sexual differences: sexual differences. They are there. Men behave in stereotypical fashions and women behave in stereotypical fashions. There are general intelligence differences. There are anatomical differences, for Pete’s sake! Yet, when I attempt to bring them to surface in order to understand the world, we are (understandably) cautious.
To be fair, stereotypes exist in other categories (categories!!) as well. I enjoy jokes about engineers and play a personal game of guessing which instrument someone plays when s/he asks me (I have a very high rate of accuracy, too!). In that light, why are stereotypes about sex so wrong? Why are they taboo?
Should we ask R.B.G?
“The pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.”
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Women are people, that’s why. We are people who breathe, bleed, feel, and aspire to things. We THINK. Unfortunately, we women are sometimes going about equality as “equality”. We’re sometimes cheating.
The problem, as always, is sex (not the sort that’s gender, this time). I live with all males and prefer talking to males. I know how often this is a factor. When it comes down to males and females, females have the advantage of sex. And, many women are not ashamed to flaunt their attractiveness to gain favors. Hence, my disdain for the realtor and my wonder at the repairwoman.
For, in my perfect world, Ginsburg and women and sex would be nonissues. Merit, intelligence, and performance would be everything. Unfortunately, we humans are not blind nor unfeeling.
Another issue is child-bearing. Women are the only ones who can do it. As part of that package; we have menstrual cycles, fluctuating hormones, pregnancy itself, and a lifelong responsibility to raise what came out of us. This is where I differ from Madame Ginsburg slightly in opinion, since the woman is not making abortion solely her own choice if she decides to keep the baby (I refer to costs of welfare). Still, making and caring for humans is a big deal; someone needs to do it for the future to not suck so badly.
And until surgical techniques improve drastically, that someone is going to be female. Ideally, she’ll be the one from whom the child comes. Why? Attachment issues, darn it.
I have no solution to my problems of fitting out. I have no solution for stereotypical thinking. I have no solution for women like me. What do I have? A respect for people (PEOPLE!!!) like Ruth Baden Ginsburg. Way to be. Not only did she try to be fair, she did so in the face of obviously-sexual discrimination.
Do I agree with everything she said or did? No. That would be silly. That would be a category. What I do agree with is what I said: authenticity, fairness, and merit.
Rest in peace, Madame. May your ideals live on as you intended.
Choosing a winner for this week’s prompt of warning labels was no small feat. I had several favorites; so, did the only fair thing and picked the one that tickled my funny bone most.
And that was:
Warning Labels, by Hobbo ‘Smoking kills,’ Sally read on the packet As she bent down to pick up her litter So engrossed, she did not hear the racket Of the thirty ton lorry that hit her.
Hobbo won for the short, simple, abrupt, crushing humor of a poor, warning label-reader’s folly. Great work!
As I said, the others were no less humorous. Read for yourself (and learn from their tales):
Inferno, by TH Kerr In case of fire, throw this in first.
The Forbidden Fruit, by H.R.R. Gorman At night you’ll see me gently creeping With mom and dad hard a sleeping In through laundry room door. I open the bag of forbidden snacks – Attractive gummies, laundry packs.
Then you’ll hear my lips a smacking, My YouTube channel gaining backing While I eat Tide Pods galore. My mouth – it foams with Clean Breeze And a few civilian casualties.
The tags may say “Danger!” “Warning!” But industry tools are boring. As a big attention whore I munch and crunch on banned fare, On poison beautiful, I’m well aware.
Untitled, by DumbestBlogger This 7¼” hand held circular saw is designed to cut 2x4s Please do not perform surgery with it That would be dumb If you wish to perform a murder this tool would be excellent We don’t condone murder You should probably use it for 2x4s
Untitled, by Pensitivity101 A nifty thing, this kid’s stroller, Keeps him warm and dry, Proudly walking down the street, I nod at passers by. Then at home, it’s time to put The kettle on for tea, But first I have to take him out And things are hard to see. The label bears a warning here To first remove the child Before collapsing to put away, Then instructions can be filed.
The new toaster, by Bruce I don’t want to boast But I just bought a thing that makes toast. The instructions say: Plug in and use as one oughta. It warns: Not to be plugged in and used under water.
Words of Warning, by Doug Jacquier The fridge magnet letters spilled out on the table, followed by the numbers and then a WARNING label. ‘Some more advanced children may well be prone to spell out things you may not condone.’ Piffle, I snorted, as I added them to the door; my kids are more adult and their taste is not poor. What I hadn’t allowed for was their merciless wit and their ability to give visitors an apoplectic fit. Thus ‘HELLO BABE’ was what greeted tubby Mrs. Foster and her balding hubby got NICE RUG. WHAT DID IT COST YER? The Reverend was rocked by DO SHOES HAVE SOULS? and Granny by HAVE YOU TRIED SHAVING YOUR HAIRY MOLES? I gathered the clan and in a voice loud and ringing said that any more pranks and their ears would be singing. All was quiet for a while but you can’t stop temptation; I was greeted with KIDS ARE CAUSED BY MULTIPLICATION. Despire myself, I couldn’t stop laughing and arranged my reaction ALL PROBLEMS CAN BE SOLVED WITH A LITTLE SUBTRACTION. Game over but they must have the last word they decided with the finale WE CANNOT STAND A HOUSE DIVIDED.
Untitled, by Deb Whittam I felt it the moment they stuck it on. Shame descended upon me right away. I knew it for what it was, A stigma, I swore I would make them pay.
For marked I was, I felt the others turn, Association would only bring despair. For we all knew since Covid-19, That brushing off notoriety was rare.
Absently I wondered what crime I had committed, I mean, I was a staple, I was beyond compare. But then Larry, the wholesome muesli bar whispered, “You contain nuts mate.” Life just wasn’t fair.
The Geriatric Behavioral Unit, by Ruth Scribbles Granny was a pistol She really was a rascal And after Grandpa died last month Her pranks became a scandal
We couldn’t keep her home alone She loved to hide and play We sent her to the unit So they could make her stay
We went to visit granny And thought all would be well When we arrived right on time We saw the sign and yelled
What is granny up to now They said and wrung their hands The help said she was determined They tried to understand
Granny met this guy, you see Who fell in love with her She convinced him they should run away The rest was all a blur
You Have Been Warned, by Obbverse The small print. Please check parcel arrives intact and complete, Verify no packaging has been torn, tagged or ripped, Our goods become lawfully yours upon receipt. (Our job is done once it’s sealed and shipped.) The fine print. Please open package with the utmost care, Check all contents against checklist inside, The Company isn’t liable for loss, damage or repair Of goods dispatched. (despite what we implied.) The finer print. Your satisfaction is paramount to this vendor So should any parts be found to be lacking Immediately return faulty goods to sender; (We look forward to see what you sent packing.) The finest print. (Please see Section 86, Clause D about bad goods returns;) If, by opening, our original box is folded, spindled or mutilated The Company consider this raises wilful damage concerns And therefore your Money Back Guarantee is invalidated.
(For this and further ongoing custom we thank you. NO further correspondence will be entered into.)
Fair Warning, by Fishman I took my radio into the bath with me and the warning label was right. I got a shock, a jarring jolt, my lord it was such a fright.
I drained the tub and dried myself my nerves were in quite a state. I vowed right then to always heed the warnings labels words, “You’re right, oh labels. I do oblige, I’ll do as you dictate.”
“I’ll hold the saw by the correct end, I’ll believe that matches may cause fire. I promise not to drive with the sun shield in place. and I’ll believe that if I drink Clorox bleach I may, in fact, expire.”
With that all said I took a breath to try and calm my nerves. But my heart kept racing – thump, thump, thump – it just would not agree. I had to take a tranquilizer, not one as prescribed, but three. The label was right ‘cuz the next thing I knew I… Zzzzzzzz…
Thanks to everyone who entered. Please return tomorrow for next week’s prompt!
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