This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
With state Rep. Carl Wimmer's proposal to make the Browning 1911 the official state handgun because, well, the Legislature has too much time on its hands, the Herriman Republican ensures that, once again, Utah will be the subject of more than a few late-night TV comedy routines.
But Wimmer's handgun salute is just the latest in a long line of, shall we say, quaint state symbols our creative Legislature has come up with throughout the years.
Utah has 20 official state symbols, from the honeybee (the state insect) to the Bonneville cutthroat trout (state fish) to the square dance (state dance, what else?) to the cherry (state fruit) to Indian rice grass (state grass) to coal (state rock) to copper (state mineral).
Some symbols suggest that at least, at times, our state's leaders were suffering from some kind of identity crisis. After all, our state bird is the California seagull, our state tree is the Colorado blue spruce, our state animal is the Rocky Mountain elk, our state vegetable is the Spanish sweet onion and, for years, the state Capitol featured a display of products representing Utah industry that included the Idaho potato.
And while our state star (yes, we have a state star), the Dubhe, is spelled differently, it is pronounced the same as the slang term for a marijuana cigarette doobie. I'm not sure what our legislators were smoking when they passed that one.
While it is not an official state symbol, the Legislature did pass a resolution a decade ago recognizing Jell-O as the unofficial snack food of Utah.
With all that in mind and with a little help from my colleagues at The Tribune I have some suggestions for other state symbols the Legislature could consider this legislative session:
• We already have a state fossil, the Allosaurus, but some have suggested we add a state relic, Orrin Hatch.
• The official Utah soft-drink holder: A Utah-brand plastic tankard, complete with a reusable plastic straw.
• Official Utah state drug: Lortab.
• Official Utah state rodent: The Utah prairie dog.
• Official Utah state beer: Epic's Brainless Ale.
• Official Utah state car: Dodge Caravan minivan
• Official Utah state business model: Multilevel marketing.
• Official Utah state wine: Castle Creek's Outlaw Red.
• Official Utah state song title: "Yesterday."
• Official Utah state song lyrics: (From Pink Floyd's "The Wall"): We don't need no education/We don't need no thought control/No dark sarcasm in the classroom/Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone!
• Official Utah state side dish: Funeral potatoes.
• Official Utah state tool: Hot glue gun.
• Official Utah state game: Book of Mormon Bingo.
• Official Utah state exclamation: "Flip!"
• Official Utah state costume: A Paul Revere hat, to be worn at tea parties.
• Official Utah state political party: Republican.
• Official Utah state enemy: The Bureau of Land Management.
• Official Utah state villain: 19th-century Missouri Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs.
• Official Utah state avenger: Orrin Porter Rockwell. (That one should be passed in tandem with Wimmer's Browning 1911 handgun.)
Paul Rolly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.