One of the great things about small town life is that we rarely have to worry about trends, fads and scientific discoveries. If they ever get to us, all the kinks and repercussions have been pretty much worked out. There is, after all, something to be said for living in the dark ages.
But some innovations reach the sticks faster than others, and genetic engineering is one. That's the process whereby a gene is inserted into a seed, egg or embryo to produce a desirable characteristic.
Take the common tomato, for example. A farmer might want disease-resistant tomatoes. Or pest-resistant tomatoes. Or more attractive tomatoes. Or seedless tomatoes. Or larger tomatoes. Or all of the above. So he plants seeds that have been genetically altered to produce the combination he wants.
On the surface, it seems like a win-win situation.
Farmers produce more and better food and we eat it. Only problem is some people believe it is not safe to genetically alter things. That we might end up with a bunch of killer tomatoes exacting revenge for all those years of tomato servitude. Hasn't that movie already been made?
Some also may argue that eating genetically-altered tomatoes might turn us into tomato heads. If it makes us resistant to mosquitos, it might not be a bad trade-off.
The reason the Rim country has to start worrying is that more than 70 million acres of genetically modified crops were planted in the U.S. last year. Foods produced from genetically altered seeds are already on our super market shelves as we speak.
That being the case, I think we might as well make full use of this marvelous technology. Lord knows, there are some things in the Rim country that could benefit from genetic engineering.
Here is our Top 10 List of Rim Country Genetic Alterations:
10. SENSE OF HUMOR GENE
When a couple guys in Strawberry organized a protest of property valuations, the folks at the county who assess your property were not pleased. We think they should have taken their 11-percent tax increase and laughed all the way to the bank.
9. GENEALOGY GENE
If we all had this gene, the donations would pour in and the Northern Gila County Genealogical Society would soon have the money to build its new library on Bonita Street. Even more important, it's fun to say "genealogy gene."
8. PEOPLE'S CHOICE GET-A-LIFE GENE
In a small town, lots of people need to get a life, so we're going to let you insert your own candidate here. We nominate the people who go to a play of their own free will and then complain about inappropriate content.
7. SOLID GOLD GENE
At last, a way out from under the layers of juniper berries that cover the Rim country. Through this alteration, all future juniper berries will be solid gold.
6. FASHION SENSE GENE
Shall we give this one to Wal-Mart to address its fashionless fashions; to George Randall at Payson Concrete & Materials to redesign those green, gold and yellow caps; or is this an alteration for all of us to share? I say let's stand up together and shout to the world, "We don't have any fashion sense and we could care less."
5. COUNTRY-WESTERN GENE
KMOG's format is not going to change, so we might as well all become country music fans. On the other hand, I woke up the other morning to my clock radio playing a country song called "Kiss This."
4. COWBOY GENE
No we're not talkin' Wrangler's here. Them's cowboy JEANS. We're talkin' 'bout holdin' on to our heritage by puttin' a little cowboy back into each of us probably the gene that makes you bowlegged.
3. SERVICE-WITH-A-SMILE GENE
Does it sometimes seem like we've forgotten old-fashioned service up here. This gene will create a race of people with permanent smiles who are pre-programmed to say, "Thank you so much, and please come back soon."
2. SUPER-WAITPERSON GENE
The average restaurant seems to be woefully understaffed. While cloning might be a more practical solution here, how about a genetically altered race of super-waitpersons who move at the speed of light and always remember to offer you water and big chocolate desserts.
1. WATER GENE
Speaking of water, since it's at the top of everybody's list in the Rim country, why not ours as well. How would a water gene work? Probably best with a typo that turns it into a water genie.