What's wrong with me?
This week's column was to be my crowning achievement, the absolute best humor piece of the year. Forty-five days in the making, I just knew it was going to be the funniest, most scathingly sarcastic wad o' journalism I'd written in a long, long while.
At least since last March.
But something happened on the way to putting together this wrap-up rant on the 2012 version of the bad TV reality show that is the Utah Legislature. Or, more accurately, nothing happened.
Well, not nothing nothing, but certainly not much out of the ordinary.
In years past, this body of mostly conservative white guys has never failed to disappoint. Always with the message bills, and the morality-based legislation, and the oh-so-zany irony-filled missteps.
But today? I got nothing.
I dunno. Maybe I've just become desensitized by it all. You know, like the drug-addicted talk radio personality who needs more and more painkillers to achieve the same high.
Egads! I do believe I've developed a tolerance for the Utah Legislature.
Oh, they did have their boneheaded moments. Moments like ...
THE GREAT FEDERAL LAND GRAB! Some bright legislators recently realized there's all sorts of federal land out there in Utah -- roughly 30 million acres, or about 300,000 acres per legislator -- that's just sitting there, looking pretty and gathering dust. But just imagine if we could mine it. Or drill it. Or subdivide it. Why, we could make us some real money in this state.
FORCED PATRIOTISM! Finally, a bill that requires all those punk kids out there to recite the Pledge of Allegiance five days a week, just like we had to. That oughta make 'em appreciate this great country we live in.
Aw, see? I just can't get excited about this one, either. But perhaps I could work up a lather over ...
THE SEX TALK IN SCHOOLS! In a my-way-or-the-highway approach to sex education, the Utah Legislature decided that public schools can either ignore the subject altogether, or they can opt to teach an abstinence-only curriculum that, well, OK, pretty much ignores the subject altogether. Nevermind.
Of course, there is always ...
SBlt ANIMAL FARM! The legislature passed some sort of bill outlawing the taking of photos or video on farms in the state. Weird, but not shooting-feral-cats weird.
However, finally, this year we did have ...
THE WAR ON WOMEN! Against the backdrop of national hearings dealing with contraceptives and Rush Limblah calling women bad words, the Utah Legislature this year passed a bill increasing the wait-time requirement before a woman can get an abortion -- from 24 hours to 72 hours.
Heck, the legislature just passed a bill that says you've got to wait 90 days before getting a divorce. And you gotta wait seven days before you can buy a gun, right? So waiting three days for an abortion doesn't seem all that -- wait. What? You do have to wait 90 days before getting a divorce, but don't have a cooling-off period before buying a gun? Really? Anybody else think that's a formula for disaster?
Imagine the effect this will have on women considering abortions ...
FIRST WOMAN: I gotta be honest, back when they just had the 24-hour waiting period, I went ahead with the abortion anyway. I didn't have the heart to tell them if I'd had to wait another 48 hours after that, I'd have probably cracked like a cheap tea service.
SECOND WOMAN: Yeah, if only they'd had abstinence-based sex education courses back when we were in school, huh?
Of course, the problem is, now that they've raised the wait time to 72 hours, where do we go from here? 'Cause you just know it's only a matter of time before these geniuses realize that, for some women of obvious loose morals, it might take 96 hours to come to their senses. Or even 120 hours.
And we all know the logical conclusion to this. If our legislators want to make sure pregnant women have truly thought about what they're doing, they should probably just go straight to the mandatory 6,480-hour waiting period.
That's roughly nine months, folks ...
OK, now see? I just sorta ran out of steam, even on that hot-button topic. Seriously, what's wrong with me? Why can't I get more worked up about this stuff?
And then it hit me. Maybe what's really bugging me is what the Utah Legislature didn't do this session. I mean, we didn't see a single bill calling for the mandatory performance of proxy baptisms for all dead Jews buried within the borders of the State of Utah. That doesn't sound like the lawmakers we've come to know and love.
Sigh. I never thought I'd say this, but one thing came into sharp focus at this year's Utah Legislature.
I miss Chris Buttars.
Contact Mark Saal -- after the mandatory 10-count cooling-off period -- at 801-625-4272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.