Lately though I’ve found myself wondering if it’s possible I am a pig person.
“Harry, pet-less love,” said Dearest Duck tapping a picture on The Newspaper’s front page, “just look, someone else with a pet pig.”
I looked. Sure enough, there was a woman hugging a curly-tailed, pot-bellied, bristle-whiskered pig.
“Getting to be a trend, idden it my Duck?” said I. “For a spell having two dogs was a craze. Now it’s pet pigs.”
“Don’t judge, Harry,” said Dearest Duck, “people love their pets. They do so.”
As always, Dearest Duck spoke the truth, and at the same time, managed to insinuate that I might improve myself if I overhauled my mind about pets — be they dogs or pigs or cockatoos for that matter — and also the nature of love, I s’pose.
So I did. I hove off in my Lay-Z-Boy with a mug of Tension Tamer and overhauled my mind.
By the way, pigs have been domesticated for eleven thousand years, give or take an ice age. Who knows? Maybe the first domesticated pig was a pet, eh b’ys?
More than likely though, pigs were domesticated after some hunter speared a wild boar — okay, or boaress — skivered its carcass on a spit, invented BBQ and then slobbered and drooled at the tasty results.
When the intoxicating spirits of my Tension Tamer grabbed hold, I thought about an essay I read as a schoolboy.
Charlie Lamb’s essay “How to Roast a Pig” tells of a young swineherd who accidently discovered the culinary delight of roasted pig by burning his house down with a pig inside. Here’s the essay’s closing line: “Some of the crums [sic] of the scorched skin had come away with his fingers, and for the first time in his life (in the world’s life indeed, for before him no man had known it) he tasted — crackling!”
Well, albeit charming, that isn’t a pet pig story.
After another sip of Tension Tamer I thought about how stories of pigs always have entertained children. Of course, pigs in tales are not pets they are well-beloved characters.
Consider the Three Little Pigs, for instance. Long before the Three Musketeers, this anthropomorphized trio of wee swine were determinedly, craftily, heroically outwitting their nemesis The Big Bad Wolf. In some versions of the yarn the pigs wreak harsh vengeance on BBW. They trick him into falling down a chimney and boiling his double-T butt in a vat of scalding water.
Even before they are introduced to storybook pigs, children — babes in arms — meet a number of adorable piglets that are kinda like pets in that they are part of human physiology.
Who among us hasn’t lovingly tickled ten of those miniature porcine critters? “This Little Pig went to market/This Little Piggy stayed home…”
I was near the dregs at the bottom of my mug when I commenced to think about Porky Pig, garbly-gobbed star of cartoon fame…
… and Miss Piggy…
…and even that Babe pig in the movies…
“Harry,” said Dearest Duck, the lamb chop — dare I say the pork chop? — of my heart, “you nodded off and started snoring and snorting so much you sounded like a hog at a trough.”
“I was dreaming about pets, my Duck,” said I
“More likely you were dreaming about supper,” said Dearest Duck.”
I almost blurted out, “Pork roast I hope,” but, wisely, I didn’t.
Instead, I said, “My Duck, I’ve been thinking about pet pigs and I just remembered about that young woman with the fishing boat. She has a pet pig.”
“That’s her. She calls him Willie Nelson, I think.”
“Plenty of famous people have pet pigs, Harry. That actor fellow, for example. George Clooney.”
“Clooney,” said Dearest Duck. “His aunt Rosemary sang a version of that old Vera Lynn war song about the White Cliff of Dover.”
“You’ve gone back a ways now my Duck. Have you been sneaking my Tension Tamer?”
Time has passed and I’ve rooted around in my noggin like a pig seeking truffles but I’ve not discovered any evidence that I’m a pet pig person.
Likely I’m not, because among the items I unearthed in my aforementioned search was a book of nursery rhymes containing some old favourite verses from my childhood: “Tom, Tom, the Piper’s son/Stole a pig and away did run./The pig was eat and Tom was beat/And Tom went howling down the street.”
I admit, this old rhyme caused me to think of…well, of bacon sizzling in a frying pan.
Who am I to blow against the wind?
Thank you for reading.
Harold Walters lives Happily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Canadian province with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org