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(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) The sunrise illuminates the peaks of the Oquirrh Mountains as a the inversion blankets the Salt Lake Valley in Salt Lake City, Utah Monday, December 16, 2013. A Salt Lake Tribune poll has found that a majority of Utahns want stricter air quality standards.
Ann Cannon: Move over, seventh grade — Inversion new personal hell

By Ann Cannon

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jan 21 2014 10:45 am • Last Updated Mar 24 2014 11:35 pm

Everybody has a notion about what his or her own personal hell would look like, right? For a long time I used to think my hell would be going to the seventh grade for the rest of my life.

Oh, seventh grade. How I hated you. There wasn’t a day when I didn’t feel like my nose was too big for my face, because (in fact) it was. Also, there were the pimples. And the bad hair days. And the general sense that my body was becoming a stranger to me — like I was trapped in a junior-high-school remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

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And then there was gym class. As if I didn’t have enough body issues already, I had to wear a baggy one-piece green jumpsuit — gathered at the waist with snaps up the front. I know! Sexy time! At the beginning of every class we did a routine to "Happy Together" by the Turtles that involved a lot of jumping jacks, twirling arms and squat thrusts.

But the worst part was the whole new social scene I was forced to navigate. Suddenly I had to deal with boys in a completely different way. Instead of playing tackle football with them on the Wilsons’ front lawn, I was supposed to pair off with one. Which I probably wouldn’t have minded, only I had no idea how to talk to boys other than to say "hut! hut! hut!"

And the whole girl scene was daunting, too. As far as I could tell, if you were cute and wore Bass Weejuns (the real ones, not the fake ones), you were at the top of the junior-high-school food chain. If, on the other hand, you had a big nose, wore a baggy green gymsuit and went around shouting "hut! hut! hut!", you weren’t.

So yeah. Seventh grade has remained my idea of hell. Until now.

Now my idea of hell is living in an inversion. You know. That big poisonous cloud that settles over our valley in the winter months like a malevolent inky giant squid.

Oh, inversion. How I hate you. There isn’t a day when you’re around that I don’t feel like I’m living in some dystopian future, which will shortly be turned into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence. You’ve been so bad lately that I ran away to St. George for a few days where I sat in a McDonald’s, listening to retired people talk about golf. And it was awesome. You know why? Because I could look out the window and see the sky.

And it was blue.

But I can’t spend the winters running away to St. George. Not yet, anyway. So what can I do? What are my options? Stay inside until winter passes? Stay inside and eat lots of doughnuts until winter passes? Leave the house occasionally to buy more doughnuts until winter passes? Use public transportation when I leave the house to buy more doughnuts until winter passes? Bundle my doughnut-buying errands into one huge epic doughnut-buying errand until winter passes?


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I’m on board with all of the above. Seriously. I am happy to do whatever it takes to make this foul air go away.

And now that the Legislature is in session, I hope that they’ll do whatever it takes to make it go away, too.

Ann Cannon can be reached at acannon@sltrib.com or facebook.com/anncannontrib.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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