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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006


PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Roller coaster of emotions when attending childbirth

By Jack Saunders

April 25, 2006 | Itís impossible to describe, in an all-inclusive manner, the up-and-down, twirl-around, emotionally charged-freight-train experience of having a child.

I remember counting, pushing, blood-soaked orifice peering and sweaty furrowed brows.

I remember the groundhog-like peek Havyn's (my daughter) slimy noggin first made. It reached the war-torn, moistened surface with valiant effort and remained the clogged-drain object for many more pain-stinging pushes.

The doctor wanted to suction her out. He nabbed a make-shift suction cupper and began the bruising. Her head, swelled and oozy, slipped through.

The scene was familiar. I watched with interest years earlier at "The Miracle of Birth" tape during Health Ed. Most kids collapsed their heads against their desks, muddling out "eeewwww" and "siiiick." I, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, soaked in every detail. The vagina is a fascinating thing. No other body part emits such candid duality. One moment it's the tunnel to light and life, where education awaits, and the next it's the X-rated provocateur.

When Havyn finally squeezed through, she was put aboard the mother ship of nursery carts. She was an awakening creature of the night, slimy and dark. Her caterwaul pierced the air like a fog horn.

Nurses snaked her throat like plumbers to a drain, stuffing the probes in and suctioning meconium out. I stood between my little yelping goo ball and the abyss from which she exited. The doctor threaded his needle, calmed my wife with statements like "perfectly normal," and "happens all the time" and began the forging of the "level 2," torn, animal-bite-like surface.

She was white and barely moving. Her marathon, 21 hours of 2-minute-apart contracting stomach muscles was over. The cause for her laborious, courageous effort laid 20 feet away but to her, seemingly forever.

Havyn's high-decibel concert seemed to be nearing its finale. She was wrapped like a burrito in a pink blanket. The nurse handed her to me and pointed to my wife. In moments like these you forget about science and biology. You don't pay attention a newborns black and white, foot-long visual capabilities. When you look in her eyes you know she's looking back. I had 20 feet with her and felt like an armored truck driver carrying a sack of fortune, nothing was going to stop me from getting to my destination.

Now, quiet, clean and warm, Havyn was nothing like the mucky monster baby who crawled from out of the dark. She laid still and peaceful and I was soaking up this long-awaited meeting but something compelled me to hastily approach my wife; because, in the words of Paul Simon, "The mother and child reunion was only a motion away."


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