Idle Thoughts From Mt. Waas
by Ollie Harris
Nov 15, 2012 | 1068 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I got to thinking the other day about what it means to be typical. People use the term a lot, usually (typically?) in a dismissive manner. Using such labels as, typical kid, typical man, typical woman, typical redneck, typical politician, relieves us from going to all the trouble of actually thinking about the person or group.

Next, I began to wonder if I am typical of anything. I am a man, but am I a typical man? I like to ride my four-wheeler, but am I a typical ATV rider? I am an old guy, but am I a typical old guy? And what is typical, anyway? It is all a puzzling mystery to me, leading me to agree with E. A. Poe who said, “Mysteries force a man to think, and so injure his health.”

If you think about it (thereby risking injury to your health), the most typical resident of San Juan County is likely to be a young female Navajo Mormon who wishes she lived somewhere else. And, if she were to move away, would (typically) wish she could return.

If the typical resident of San Juan County is a young female Navajo Mormon who wishes she lived somewhere else then (typically) I am not typical.

I belong to a very exclusive group of only three men. We are known as the sons of our mother. Which of us, I wonder, is typical of our mother’s sons? The eldest and youngest are separated by more than 20 years. I’m not sure that any of us is typical of the others.

Viktor Frankl, a favorite author to whom I return every few years, says, “...there are only two races of men in this world, but only these two – the ‘race’ of decent man and the ‘race’ of indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people.”

I would like to think that any group of which I am typical would be made up entirely of the race of decent man, but (typically) it may not be so.

I live in a small, southeastern Utah city. We number around 4,500 people. We have a high school, a middle school, an elementary school, a hospital, two medical clinics, two pharmacies, a couple of dentists, an eye doctor, a counseling center, a small college affiliated with the College of Eastern Utah and Utah State University, a senior center, two world-class museums, a department of social services, city offices, and other public and private enterprises. I have not seen the statistics, but I have wondered if this small community might have a higher ratio of advanced academic degrees than others of its size.

There is also a large number of poor in our community. There are those who struggle to make ends meet; others who have domestic upheavals. There are those whose health is at risk and some who are simply overwhelmed with the challenges of life.

So, if you lump us all together, who is typical among us? I honestly cannot say. Maybe if you took the young female Navajo Mormon and gave her a bachelor’s degree, she would still be typical.

All of this thinking has been rather more than I care for. I feel certain impending injury to my health. Maybe I will go kick back in my recliner, then call to Barbara to bring me a damp, cool cloth for my forehead and to turn down the lights and pull off my shoes. Typical husband. She would do it, too, being a typical wife.

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