Saturday, April 2, 2011

This Little Piggy

This little piggy disappeared. Poof. Vanished. Gone. Like an apparition in the dark, it was gone as if it had never existed in the first place.

The mystery started the year after I graduated high school. I was stuck in a dead end existence, wasting my days attending college and other pointless adult activities such as working.

There has got to be a better way, I was thinking. Surely there must be something out there that would be interesting, income producing and most importantly, allow plenty of time for dirt bike riding, hunting and fishing, and goofing around with friends. My little brother and I put our heads together and came up with a plan. It was so simple that it was genius. It had been right there in front of our noses all along. And it was foolproof.

We decided to become rich, southern, gentlemen type farmers.

Now, since we were rather new at the farming business, we had a few decisions to make. First off, we decided to forego the actual farming part of being a rich, southern, gentlemen type farmer. As youngsters, we had been sentenced to days of forced labor in the garden every summer. Little more than indentured servants, picking and pulling weeds, planting potatoes, cutting okra, closely scrutinized every moment by the guards. Don't even think for a moment about taking off for an hour to watch cartoons or go build a fort or go down to the pond to shoot tadpoles with a BB gun. Mom and grandma would never let that happen until the last weed was gone or the last bean was snapped. The actual farming part is way too much work and is best left to others more qualified.

We decided to concentrate all of our efforts on the livestock aspect of the farming business, based upon all of the knowledge that we had scientifically accumulated. You see, in cowboy movies, there is a super intelligent cowboy and all he does is buy a few cows and let them do what cows do while he goes fishing. Their instinct will take over, they will multiply naturally and then the next thing you know, there are hundreds of the suckers, all fat and sassy and ready to go to market. Once they are sold, presto! The transformation is complete. One bonafide rich, southern, gentlemen type farmer. The only thing left to do is to purchase a Cadillac convertible and drive slowly around town with the top down while you impress people.

That's all there is to it. Anybody could do it. We held a discussion, pondering why there were not more geniuses doing exactly the same thing that we would be doing. Our conclusion-other people were just not as smart as we happened to be.

Now, the only decision left was to decide what kind of livestock. A newspaper was consulted and the classified ads therein narrowed our decision considerably. Even after pooling our fortunes, our funding was limited. Horses and cows and elephants were completely out of the question. Our fortune would have to be generated by critters of lesser dimensions and smaller stature.

Should we raise goats? Gerbils? Muskrats? No, no, no.

Pigs were the answer. There happened to be a gentleman selling them in a nearby town. Our father owned a grocery store and there was always plenty of old produce to be thrown out. What better way to dispose of it? And we had 24 acres, enough room for thousands of happy and contented little porkers. This must certainly be the work of a higher power. A finer example of divine intervention would be difficult to imagine. The timing, the circumstances, the coincidence was too much. Clearly, God was smiling upon our endeavors and the rewards would be great.

We went to bed that night with visions of a vast plantation home dancing through our dreams. A long driveway, lined on both sides with ancient live oak trees completed the picture. Delusions of grandeur, or inspiration and a hint of good things to come? Remember, God was on our side.

The next morning we took the pickup and went to purchase our little oinkers. Even the richest, southern, gentlemen type farmer has to start off somewhere and for us it started with four little pigs. We happily paid for them and put them inside a large Pampers box in the back of the pickup bed. The tailgate was closed. Then we duct taped the lids of the box securely together and thus, the beginnings of our plantation were complete. Eager and excited, we set off for home.

Before getting on the interstate, we stopped at a convenience store to get ourselves a coke and check the little oinkers. They appeared to be in fine spirits and all was well.

When we arrived home 45 minutes later and everyone gathered around to inspect our purchase, we discovered that all was not well.

Our four little pigs had magically turned themselves into three little pigs. Hmmmmmmm. This was interesting. The box lids were still closed and taped. The tailgate was still up. He was not hiding underneath the toolbox in the truck bed. What the hell?

Being the inquisitive sort, questions arose. Where was the little fellow? Was he beamed up by an alien spaceship to be anally probed and scrutinized by inquisitive little green men? Had he somehow managed to get out of the box and out of the bed of the truck and was at this very instant being transformed into a piggy pancake by an 18 wheeler? Had some miscreant snatched him out of the back of the truck when we were not looking? Was he at this very moment in a parallel dimension, observing and laughing at our predicament? Had God blessed us with a heavenly pig, able to disappear and appear at will?

The clues were few and the case of the mystery pig was never solved to our satisfaction. We resolved to persevere and go on building our empire with our three remaining pigs. We built a pen complete with a predator proof fence and a little, mud swimming hole and plenty of shade for their comfort. They were deposited into it and given generous amounts of produce scraps. Now all they had to do was what pigs naturally do.

We went fishing. Or maybe dirt bike riding. Or hunting. Maybe we found some firecrackers to pop. I'm not sure now what it was that we did but I know that it was important. We had to have something to do while our fortunes multiplied. Speaking of multiplying..............

Have you ever raised pigs? Do you know how fast they grow? Me neither, because they don't. Grow fast, that is. We fed them daily. A lot. They always had plenty of water. They always had plenty of mud. They had plenty of shade. And we kept on feeding them. And watching them. And you know what? They never seemed to get any bigger.

Three weeks later we went out to feed them one morning and found one of them lying on his side. He didn't look very comfortable lying there. He was dead and his side was torn open. By all appearances, he was not a happy little pig. The two remaining pigs weren't saying anything but apparently in our area there resided some sort of super animal, able to penetrate predator proof fences at will. We buried him with honors and went on building our fortune and future.

Have you ever been close to a pigpen? If you have then you will likely never forget the smell. All of that rotten produce that they eat must go somewhere. It multiplies, piles up, and infuses the entire area with its essence. After a while, it kills all of your odor sensors, I am convinced, and you remain blissfully unaware of the situation until you have guests. If you are anticipating guests of the girlish female type and are filled with lustful and romantic intentions, the female will likely be less than impressed with the background ambience. If you are a gifted speaker and drown yourself with manly cologne the female might possibly be coaxed into staying for a while but the reciprocal lust on her part might well prove to be minimal.

As the summer rolled along we continued to feed them and our two pigs continued to eat. And crap. And stink. And not grow. Evidently not all of the odor sensors in the area had been killed off because my mother was starting to gripe about the smell. What was she thinking, we wondered? You don't get something for nothing. To our nose, that was just the smell of our money multiplying.

The summer kept going and so did our pigs. Those damn little things sure do eat a lot. And they sure don't grow very much, for all of the effort that they require. And they do stink.

One late summer day we took our produce scraps out to feed our two remaining pigs. We threw the scraps on the ground and began to suspect something was amiss when only one porker appeared. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Something fishy was going on. An inspection revealed that he was not hiding. There were no holes in the fence anywhere. There was no blood. Had the super animal returned? Was this piggy joining his other sibling in a parallel dimension?

The case of the second mystery pig was never solved also.

We were down to one swine.

One thing was now becoming crystal clear. Evidently God had decided that we were far too important to waste our time becoming rich, southern, gentlemen type farmers and had much greater plans for us in the future.

We finally located some, I mean, some deserving individual to take our last pig off of our hands so that we could stop stinking and stop feeding it and get on with more important things, like school and jobs. Certainly there's no money to be made in pigs.

I don't suppose that any of you out there started off with one pig in 1985 and are now a successful, rich, southern, gentlemen type farmer, are you?

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