Cranberry Juice: The Only Line of Attack Against Infection

When I interviewed U of U Junior, Kaitelynne, and her roommates, Ladonne and Kielie, they lounged around their downtown apartment. Several advanced chemical engineering textbooks rested on their coffee table.

When I asked about her grades, Kaitelynne shrugged modestly. “A’s, mostly. Those don’t help with basic wellbeing, though.”

Questionable Education Rendering Women Ill (Seriously)

Like most women who were both adolescents in Utah and sexually active later in life, Kaitelynne has a common malady. “Every woman I know–every one–has had a urinary tract infection at some point,” she says. Ladonne and Kielie nodded, and your journalist is not an exception, unfortunately.

“No one told me I should pee after sex,” she told me. “We spent three weeks on sex ed when I was 15 years old. They didn’t tell the gals that one extremely helpful tip.”

Utah’s sex ed is certainly not winning gold stars. This is, after all, the state in which senator John Valentine made the slightly queasy claim that “[sex education] should not be taught in our schools! Those things should be taught in the home.”*

(Picture of John Valentine by Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

“It’s funny, because it could literally kill me. And other women,” Kaitelynne said. “I can make a car engine. Literally. I could take a bucket of pipecleaners and some gasoline and make a combustion engine. But I didn’t know that women should have a post-coitus wee.”

What To Do Next

Kaitelynne confessed that she can’t stop rushing to the bathroom, and it constantly feels as though her kidneys are on fire. “I have no health care, I can’t afford a doctor visit or medication, and I’m constantly in pain,” she admitted. “But I can afford cranberry juice. I have six dollars.”

The beverage, costing roughly three dollars for half a gallon (a bargain!), can supposedly lessen UTI symptoms. Rather than sweet, sweet antibiotics, Kaitelynne takes only juice and optimism, the great American cure-all.

Recognizing the importance of solidarity, Ladonne and Kielie set up a gofundme for Kaitelynne. It has currently raised four dollars, enough for only more cranberry juice.

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(Picture of “medicine” by Organicfacts.net)

“Hey, there’s nothing else we can do,” Kaitelynne says, before excusing herself to use the restroom yet again.

–Sarah

*John Oliver. “Sex Education”, Last Week Tonight. Timestamp 6:27. Watch Here.

Morahnic Satire: Local Professor Sponsored by Mountain Dew

Image result for mountain dewMany students are familiar with the “fuck it all” taste of Mountain Dew. It’s a staple of final’s week! But now, at many universities, professors are turning to the drink too. As part of their revolutionary marketing strategy, the soda company now caters to the overworked people on both sides of the classroom.

“We’re really looking forward to breaking this new market,” a Mountain-Dew representative told me, in his cedar-lined office at Pepsico. After offering me a bag of cool ranch Doritos, he continued: “Mountain Dew has always been counter-culture, but we had to get out of our parents’ basements somehow.”

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I Just Can’t Pay My Bills, Local Professor Says

“I worked for twelve years to earn a doctorate, another five years as a post-doc, and finally secured a tenure-track position. But it turns out my stable, prestigious job just can’t quite cut it anymore,” claims Chemistry professor, Dr. Jordan. She continued: “The sponsor is really just to take the edge off.”

Dr. Jordan spends roughly forty hours of her week researching, and another forty teaching. Yet, when pouring over the bank statement with her spouse a few months ago, they found they couldn’t make ends meet.

“At first, it did feel a bit like I was selling my soul to the fresh, lemon-lime beverage,” she admitted. I expected her to perhaps say that her mind had subsequently changed, but she didn’t.

Bizarre Classroom Experience

On Monday morning, Dr. Jordan’s Chem 2010 students neatly filed into their lecture hall. Bottle-shaped cardboard cutouts surrounded them. The Mountain Dew logo had replaced Mendelevium (Md) on the Periodic Table Decals. When I glanced a student’s copy of her syllabus, I noticed it was printed in neon-green ink. Unreadable.

The lecture proceeded restlessly. Dr. Jordan would occasionally pause to take a long, refreshing swig of Diet Dew. Her team of three or four grad students would mimic her.

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When the lecture ended, I caught a shifty-looking student at the door, and asked her what she thought. She stammered something about “late-stage capitalism.” Later, I spotted her at a vending machine, purchasing a Code Red Mountain Dew.

–Sarah

Moronic Satire: A Love Letter to Absurdity

Utah is an amalgam of bizarre politics. A few days ago, I drove from Salt Lake to Cedar City, traversing Utah’s broad swatches of nothingness, incredible scenery, and needlepoint Mormon steeples, all under a haze of wildfire smoke.

Liberal Bubbles?

I was driving to participate in the academic conference of Utah’s Shakespeare Festival, planning to talk about disability in the 400-year-old play, The Tragedy of Richard III. This year, the theme of the festival is “Shakespeare and the Other”; speakers were asked to consider how Shakespeare used POC, women, queer characters…demographic “others”, in other words…to make political statements. I, a bisexual woman uncertain of both her sexuality and her woman-ness, and an agnostic atheist, certainly list severely to the left, so I felt the comfort of an echo chamber. We transformed Shakespeare’s politics into our own, and were allowed to do so, protected by our rich liberal bubble. As I spoke, and as I listened to others speak, the phrases “w*nk fest” and “circle jerk” drifted around my mind.

Hiking Culture?

I would drive from the conference to Hurricane, where my friend and I were staying. The first night, we labored up a desert hill, ditching our sandals, our bare feet clopping up the red stone, to see the sunset and Martian hills from a better perspective. When we reached the top, we saw that new oil rigs sprouted from the broad orange fields, adding to the luxurious natural beauty gilt profit and big, beautiful coughs of sand. My friend and I wheezed from physical and moral stitches, staring at those little phallic pricks in the surface of the earth. “The world is ending,” I said, and she picked up some litter. We found a spot to take pictures anyway, stumbled to our house, and turned up the air conditioning.

Empathy Fodder

Tuesday evening, we saw Shakespeare Fest’s Merchant of Venice; a comedy about money and justice, featuring a Jew, Shylock, who sits right on the line of caricature and humanity. I wondered if there were people in this Utah audience who had never met a Jew before, and knew this evening could alter their sympathies forever, for better or worse.

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(Leslie Brott as Antonio and Lisa Wolpe as Shylock, 2018 Utah Shakespeare Festival)

Thankfully, Cedar City’s version of Shylock—and the Jewish actress who played him—carried a history that demanded empathy. We see Shylock lose his family, his money, and his religion; he’s forcibly converted to Christianity. When we saw this happen, several people in the audience gasped. Tears leaked from my eyes. A few seats down, I heard someone whisper, “This is a comedy?” And, because of its absurdity and futility, it is, even if we can’t laugh at it.

For the past year, my home and the world—with all our echo chambers, our pre-apocalyptic environment, and our trials of empathy—has been a comedy that has pushed tears from my eyes. All of us hang somewhere between futility and choice, and, perhaps most importantly, our own comfort, control, and desire. So, because I despair and panic every time I read a headline, smell smoke, and see drills hover over my home state, it’s time to start making some jokes.

With love,

Sarah B.