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Pigs I have known


Fri, Mar 2nd, 2001
Posted in

Monday, February 26, 2001

I recently had the privilege of addressing the Fillmore County Pork Producers at their annual banquet. As a group they were very prompt, very polite, and I felt a little bad about keeping some of them up so late. Early in my planning for this event, I decided that there wasnít very much I could tell them about hogs that they did not already know, so I chose to regale them with something a bit more obscure and, I hoped, a bit more entertaining.

I justified this decision because, in my opinion, it would be a good thing if everybody knew a little bit more about everything. I have heard it said that what you donít know canít hurt you, but I have found the opposite to be true in almost every life situation. Perhaps it is a bit whimsical to try to imagine a case where not knowing what you are about to read about hogs will be detrimental to you, but reading it wonít hurt you either.

For example, at any one time there are about 140,000 hogs of all sizes and shapes taking up residency within the recklessly unguarded borders of Fillmore County. That seems like a lot, but there are sixteen counties in Minnesota that have more resident swine than does Fillmore County. We hope that the hogs remain under close supervision as they outnumber Fillmore Countyís human population by a factor of seven to one. If hogs and people were distributed equally across the countyís landscape, each person would have twenty-eight acres to call their own and each hog would have four acres to root around on. That should be plenty of room for man and beast alike.

In a more down-to-earth moment, we discussed how much of our nationís human population is losing the capacity to discuss anything about a pig or about nature in general. Paul Hawken wrote in "The Ecology of Commerce" that the average person can now recognize over one thousand corporate logos, but cannotz properly name less than ten native plants and wild animals that live around them. This bodes ill for those among us who rely on other species and the natural environment for our livelihood. A case in point made this evident on a recent public radio call-in program that I listened to. A caller insisted that hog producers should be encouraged and even coerced to raise white hogs because they smell better than hogs of other colors. I have it on pretty good authority that a hog is a hog when it comes to odor. I donít think that I would like to have the task of changing that callerís mind, if such a thing were possible.

Some highbrow literature eventually came into the eveningís deliberations. I predicted that the pork producers would appreciate some pig poetry that was written by the third and fourth graders in our sonsí school. Keep in mind that a different student wrote each of these poems. It is plain that each of their life experiences when it comes to pigs is completely different.

Pigs are brave. Pigs are chaste.
Pigs donít brush their teeth with toothpaste.


Pigs are yummy. Pigs wear hats.
Pigs donít like to eat cats.

Pigs are fat. Pigs are plump.
Pigs are big and have a big rump.

Pigs are muddy. Pigs oink, too.
Pigs can walk, but canít tie a shoe.

Pigs are chubby. Pigs are pink.
Pigs are nice, but they sure stink.

Pigs are loyal. Pigs are pale.
Pigs donít come in the mail.

Pigs are perfect. Pigs think all the time.
Pigs get wet. Pigs canít rhyme.

Pigs are smart. Pigs are cool.
Pigs are awesome and they drool.

Pigs are fat. Pigs are cute.
Pigs are fat. Pigs like fruit.

Pigs are plump. Pigs are brave.
Pigs like to shave in the bathtub each and every day.

Pigs are fat. Pigs are pink.
Pigs are smarter than you think.

And, as is so often true that it takes a child to get right to the point, this final submission sums up our ode to the swine.

Pigs are neat. Pigs are sweet.
Pigs are turned into meat.

By Wayne Pike

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