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KBYU Rising



Every Tuesday, I wake up and start looking at the clock. Every Tuesday at 2 p.m., I start to write. By 4 p.m. I finish this column and send it to our ace editor, Jerre Wroble. Jerre brushes up the copy, then sends it to "Utah's Best Designer," art director Derek Carlisle, who lays out the copy in InDesign. He then sends it back to me for a thumbs up to send to the printer. It's an easy process and an easy job. Even I can do it.

I've written in long spurts for City Weekly since the 1980s, but no similar period of word purging was so nearly completely comprised of just two major issues as have these last eight months. Since March 4, 2020, 11 days before COVID-19 officially hit Utah with the Salt Lake County edict to shut down the hospitality industry on St. Patrick's Eve, I've focused on just a minority of topics. Primarily of course, were the many tomes about COVID-19 and the effects of it on the hospitality industry (aided and abetted by the indecisive action of our lackadaisical state government). I've also been smitten to immortalize into print nearly every foreboding gag reflex initiated by the mere thought of a second Donald Trump presidency.

It was only the rare column—such as a tribute to an old friend (Joe Redburn, who died a few months ago) or pieces about this changing newspaper industry—that didn't have a COVID-19 or Trump theme. Over a similar stretch of that time in years' past, I would have written about growing up in Bingham Canyon, growing up Greek, fishing in the Uinta Mountains in the 1960s, baseball no matter the era or team but mostly the Yankees or Cubs, my fake NyQuil addiction, Carlos Arroyo blunders, the male pattern baldness I don't suffer from, drinking to excess, Utah's dumb liquor laws, Utah County's dumb residents, the Jordan River, Chicago blues and any number of seemingly mundane topics. Nothing is mundane in the mind of a writer, though. If it were, then what would be the point?

Today, however, for the first time in these eight months, I feel like being perfectly mundane. I've been asked plenty of times where topics come from to write about—what is the inspiration? I always stop folks right there because if there's a single English language word that doesn't apply to me, it's the word "inspiration." I just sit down behind a keyboard and start pecking. It's the rarest of days when I actually know what I'll write about at 1:59 p.m. Today is no exception, but it does bear a new wrinkle.

I've started writing at noon today. Instead of having CNN or FOX both driving me crazy with updates on Trump farts and Biden burps, I'm instead tuned into KBYU-FM 89.1, listening to Eric Glissmeyer send up classical music. Even I didn't see that one coming. After eight months of fully loaded frustrations, eight months of not knowing if our friends in the hospitality industry would survive, eight months of not knowing if City Weekly would survive, eight months of morbidity and rising cases of COVID-19, of protests of all stripes, of wondering what would become of isolated and disenfranchised communities, if our country would survive, of endless doubting that we would ever really become a nation that treats all citizens equally and respectfully, I just threw a pillow at the wall intercom and KBYU came on. For the record, I've never tuned into anything BYU. I took that as a sign.

It didn't take long to actually start paying attention. I don't know why I was struck by it, but soon some familiar sounds came through the radio. I hit Google and found that what I was listening to was Marche du Couronnement, a symphony composed by Camille Saint-Saëns, written in celebration of the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Another sign. We will soon either coronate Donald Trump as our Godly King, or we will have defied the dregs of history and voted him out of our people's house, America's White House.

Currently playing is Bach's Orchestral Suite in E minor. A Bingham High School education is nearly useless, but it did teach me to never trust a damned thing, so I also just learned via Glissmeyer that this symphony is actually a work of Johann Bernhard Bach, not Johann Sebastian Bach. The two were relatives, however. I imagine they were related in the same way I think of the knuckles of Tommy Pazell and the whacking stick of Ms. Verne Baer as being related. They were two of the strictest teachers ever to use violence to guide Bingham High School students to a better path.

For me, that path led me to KBYU today, a place I'd never been. To be sure, it's quite relaxing, and true to form, I never believe anything is mere coincidence. Now playing is Symphony No. 3 by Jean Sibelius. My second Google of this writing session teaches me that Symphony No. 3 "... has only has three movements. It is not out of the question, although by no means proven, that the movements spiritually correspond to the birth, funeral and resurrection of Christ." So, there you have it. Today, America is reborn. I like that thought. Go, Joe.

I've not thought of COVID, not thought of Trump, not had a single depressing negative thought in an hour and 44 minutes now. I'll take it. Today, we voted. By the time you read this, you will know. We have hope or we do not. But we remain of the mind to throw pillows at our radios. We will and we should.

Send comments to john@cityweekly.net.