Hmm Weekly for August 25, 2020

I got so much Tuesday on my mind

Yvonne Ryans. Photo by Lori Teresa Yearwood

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS DEP’T.

How Did You Sleep Last Night?

By Lori Teresa Yearwood

EVER SINCE THE Salt Lake City police dog attacked her son in April—biting into his leg while an officer told the dog, “Good boy,” according to a recently released police video—Yvonne Ryans says she has been a nervous wreck. Especially at night.

For the first time in her life, she is taking sleeping pills, she says. But her worries are stronger than the medicine; her thoughts about her son, who has undergone multiple surgeries as a result of the attack, never stop.

“I’m OK during the day,” she said, “But my fear comes at night. I start to shake uncontrollably.”

Ryans, 64, and her 36-year-old son, Jeffrey Ryans, are African-Americans. Before her son was attacked, Ryans says she never worried about herself or anyone else in her family being victims of possible police brutality.

“I remember that happening to John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when they were fighting for our voting rights. But in this day and age—I had never heard of such a thing.”

An officer’s body-cam footage released earlier this month, shows that on April 24, a K9 officer ordered his dog to bite Jeffrey Ryans while he was kneeling with his hands in the air, then again while he was lying on the ground with another officer on top of him, as Ryans screamed in pain. The police had been responding to a 911 call regarding possible domestic violence, said Detective Greg Wilking of the Salt Lake City Police Department. The story about what happened when officers arrived on the scene has been shared by media outlets worldwide.

Jeffrey Ryans has taken steps to sue the Salt Lake City police after alleging that officers used excessive force when they ordered the police dog to repeatedly attack him, according to an article in the Salt Lake City Tribune.

A day after the release of the video, the Salt Lake City Police Department suspended the apprehension portion of its K9 program, meaning that the dogs are not being used for biting, but they are being used in other ways, Detective Wilking said.

“With the release of that video we had to react and we’re going to take a look at the procedures and policies,” Wilking said. Meanwhile, the officer who ordered his dog to bite Ryans has been placed on administrative leave, Wilking added.

Yvonne Ryans, a retired sales assistant for Channel Four news station, said she watched the airing of the video with Jeffrey.

“I said: ‘This is you?’ There is yelling and screaming and the dog is still biting and the officer is saying, ‘Good boy'? Is this really my son? This is my son?”

But no matter how many times she asks herself the question, the shock remains as impenetrable as the night that Jeffrey called her to tell her he was in trouble.

“He told me, ‘Mom, I’m going into surgery.’ And I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And then I heard a cop in the background yell: ‘Get off the phone!’”

“I just sat there, numb," Ryans said. "I didn’t know what to do.”

Hours later, Ryans says she picked Jeffrey up at the jail—police took him there after his surgery—and brought him to her two-bedroom condo. He’s been living with her ever since, she says.

“He goes to the doctor every Thursday because it’s still an open wound and they have to scrape the dead skin and try to get new skin to form. The first time he went, I went with him. When they pulled the bandages off, it was just oozing blood and pus and water and it was just horrifying—horrifying. I was sick to my stomach.”

Ryans wishes that “all this was over,” but she has no idea what her new normal will look like, and that’s one of the main anxieties that wakes her throughout the nights. Her gut tells her that her son will need to leave Utah to escape the public scrutiny and outrage that the attack has caused.

With her unwavering faith in God and the support of her friends, who regularly call her to go walking and golfing, Ryans says she has a substantial amount of support. She has noticed, however, that the friends who call her are Black. Her white friends haven’t reached out, she says.

“I think they might be afraid to call me and I don’t think they really know what to say. And I feel like they will never experience what I have experienced. Because I don’t think they would put a dog on a white man.”

“How Did You Sleep Last Night?” is an ongoing series.

Another Week, Another Hmm Weekly

GOOD MORNING! This is the latest HMM WEEKLY, successor publication to HMM DAILY, distributed via SUBSTACK, a newsletter delivery and reading platform.

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ADVICE DEP’T.

Ask The Sophist

Dear The Sophist,
If you needed to use the washroom and also needed to blow your nose which would you do first, and would you wash your hands in between?
Need a Relief Map


Dear Sink Cost Fallacy,
Should you wash your hands before using the washroom? The Sophist believes you're trying to ask whether you blow your nose before or after you take a piss, or maybe a shit. But you will not have an easy time deciding which of your bodily functions goes first if you're too anxious about it to even say what those functions are. 

Rejoice: You have nothing to be anxious about. The bathroom or restroom or washroom is (for now) one of the last spaces for true autonomy and individuality under our current panopticon of performance. Take advantage of the privacy and start with whatever is most urgent—whether it's the pressure in your sinuses, bladder, or bowels—then proceed to the others in turn. 

You could work yourself into some sort of tizzy about cross-contamination scenarios if you wanted to, but the coronavirus pandemic has upended our basic premises about which bodily productions are more unclean than the others. What if, despite your use of a tissue to blow your nose, your dangerous respiratory droplets fall or get transferred by hand onto your otherwise blameless genitals? But, really, what if?

Before somebody's oral or respiratory mucous membranes meet the viral particles down thataway, you will presumably have already kissed the person (if not, The Sophist hopes you would have brought your whole question to a more technically specialized advice columnist, and with less of a veil of euphemism over it). 

After you have finished the final item of business, clean up, reassemble yourself, clean up from the reassembly, and face the world. As long as you exit with clean hands, what happens inside is entirely up to you. 

Count to 20,
The Sophist

The Sophist is here to tell you why you're right. Send your questions to AskTheSophist@hmmweekly.com, and get the answers you want.

LORAX DEP’T.

I HAD A temp gig a while back in a cubicle in a windowless room in a giant manufacturing building on a godforsaken strip of gargantuan office parks in Lanham, Maryland. The drive down from Baltimore was hellish, and I was not suited to the work, which was repetitive graphic production, non-creative, detail- and numbers-heavy. I don’t think I did very well at the job. I was frequently drowsy in the dim lighting preferred by people who stare into large monitors all day, so I would be sure to take breaks and get outside into the daylight. I’d go outside to bask in a bit of nature, sunshine and a large stand of trees. Unfortunately, there was an expansion going on, so shortly after I started my job, a crew came in and started ripping down all the lovely trees to make way for another giant steel building. I took a bunch of pictures to try and grab a little Art out of a scene that profoundly depressed me. When I look at them I’m glad I’m not there.

VISUAL CONSCIOUSNESS DEP’T.

Development.

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THOUGHT DEP’T.

Do you have a thought? Send it to hmmweekly@hmmweekly.com.

SANDWICH RECIPES DEP’T.

WE GET ONE more squeeze out of our presentation of select recipes from the leviathan and encyclopedic 1896 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, by Fannie Merritt Farmer, Principal of the Boston Cooking-School, with a selection of items from

CHAPTER XXXVII.

RECIPES ESPECIALLY PREPARED FOR THE SICK.

Statistics prove that two-thirds of all disease is brought about by error in diet. The correct proportions of food-principles have not been maintained, or the food has been improperly cooked. Physicians agree, with but few exceptions, that the proper preparation of food for the sick is of as great importance in the restoration to health as administration of drugs. Time and serving manner are of equal importance.

Take especial care in setting an invalid’s tray. Cover with a spotless tray-cloth or dinner napkin, folding the same, if it is larger than tray, that it may come just over the edge. Avoid a fringed cloth, as the fringe is apt to prove annoying.

Barley Water.
3 tablespoons barley.
4 cups cold water.
Salt.
Lemon juice.
Sugar.

Pick over barley and soak in water over night, or for several hours. Boil gently one and one-half hours. Strain; season with salt, lemon juice, and sugar. Reheat and serve.

Rice Water.
2 tablespoons rice.
2 cups cold water.
Milk or cream.
Salt.

Pick over rice, add to water, and boil until rice is tender; strain, and add to rice water, milk or cream as desired. Season with salt and reheat. A half-inch piece of stick cinnamon may be cooked with rice and will assist in reducing a laxative condition.

Oatmeal Water.
1 cup fine oatmeal.
2 quarts water (which has been boiled and cooled).

Add oatmeal to water, and keep in a warm place (at temperature of 80˚ F.) one and one-half hours. Strain and cool.

Toast Water.
Equal measures of stale bread toasted and boiling water.
Salt.

Cut bread in quarter-inch slices, put in a pan, and dry thoroughly in a slow oven until crisp and brown. Break in pieces, add water, and let stand one hour. Break in pieces, add water, and let stand one hour. Strain through cheesecloth, and season. Serve hot or cold.

If you make one of these waters, we hope it helps, and before it’s consumed, please won’t you send a picture to hmmweekly@substack.com.

HMM WEEKLY IS written by Tom Scocca, editor, and Joe MacToast, creative director. If you enjoy Hmm Weekly, please let a friend know about it! If you're reading this because someone forwarded it to you, go ahead and sign up for a copy of your own right now.
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