Vinson: Lockjaw in political circles

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Growing up on a small farm in rural Middle Tennessee, it was common--weather permitting--for me and the neighbor kids to run around and play outside "barefooted" (not wearing shoes). Of course, we kids would play around the barnyard area, where there were horses, ponies, dogs, cats, and sometimes other animals, both domestic and wild (possums, raccoons, reptiles, etc.).

It is necessary to note back in those days, early-mid '60s, "barns" were for the most part, constructed from "rough lumber," assembled into a structure with a handsaw, hammer, and long nails. Therefore it was quite common to discover a stray plank/board, unattached to anything, lying on the ground with the sharp rusted end of a long nail exposed and sticking upwards.

Correlative with the above paragraphs, we kids were constantly reminded by our parents it was imperative we be administered our "tetanus shots." Why?
Because, according to the adults back in those days, if you were barefooted and stepped on a rusty nail, had not been administered your tetanus shot, you very well might come down with a case of "lockjaw." With lockjaw they told us, your jaws would remain fixed--locked--in place, permanently, upper teeth pressed against lower teeth; you never again would be able to eat or drink; therefore you would die from starvation.

Putting it mildly, every time I walked around the barnyard area I had a morbid fear of stepping on a rusty nail and contracting the dreaded "lockjaw," even though my parents saw to it I received my annual tetanus shot.

And, indeed, there does exist credible medical evidence supporting the "lockjaw-tetanus shot" fright I and others suffered decades ago. One reports states:
"Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is an infection characterized by muscle spasms. In the most common type the spasms begin in the jaw and then progress to the rest of the body. These spasms usually last a few minutes each time and occur frequently for three to four weeks. Spasms may be so severe that bone fractures may occur. Other symptoms may include: fever, sweating, headache, trouble swallowing, high blood pressure, and a fast heart rate. Onset of symptoms is typically three to twenty one days following infection. It may take months to recover."

Even with the quote above, though, I am not aware of anyone stepping on a rusty nail, his/her jaws going into permanent lockdown, and he/she dying of starvation. Moving right along . . .

Last week, July 27, 2015, via her Fox News show "On the Record w/Greta Van Susteren," I watched Greta interview billionaire/presidential hopeful Donald Trump, he of "bad hair" and too long "necktie" infamy. Trump hopes to get the Republican bid.

Now, personally, I think Greta Van Susteren is an exceptional television news anchorwoman: attractive, accomplished attorney, and does a balanced, objective job when interviewing high-profile politicians and celebrities on her Fox News show.

During this interview with Trump and Van Susteren, The Donald said (paraphrased, not necessarily in this sequence): I am who I am. I've never debated before, although my whole life is a debate. All politicians do is debate, but they're all talk and no action, and I think people are tired of it. I've never debated; I've created jobs. I might make a great debater; I might be a terrible one. I look forward to the debate. Regardless of how well I do in the debate, the press will say I did badly. The political press is unbelievably dishonest, in at least 60 percent of the cases . . . etc.

As a rule, the quick-minded, highly-capable Greta Van Susteren gets in her points/comments in a command type of way . . . not with Donald Trump in this particular interview, however! Though she managed to squeeze in a few short questions, Trump, for the most part, cut her short, and she was reduced to listening to the Trumpster toot his horn for the 2-minute-28 second interview.

Greta, please get your political tetanus shot. Don't allow Donald Trump to give you a case of "lockjaw" on your own TV show, ever again.

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Mike Vinson
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