Friends, this Swine Flu thing has gotten us all Bug-A-Boo. Some people say that it’s no big deal, but you’re right to be afraid. You see, I know what it is to fear the vicious pig. I’ve seen his power up close; I’ve looked into his dead eyes and, thankfully, lived to tell about it. While some hear “pig” and think of cute, talking, pants-less characters like Wilbur, Babe and Porky, I hear “pig” and I think “killing machine.”
I’ve never told anyone this, but when I was a young boy on the farm in Indiana, I was brutally attacked by a…herd?…swarm?…pride?…bevy?…pod?…whatever a lot of pigs are called. To be fair, it was all a big misunderstanding on both sides, but in the heat of the moment, no one, neither pig nor boy, was thinking clearly.
The farm belonged to a man named Brady who was busy with other farms of his own. We rented the house. We weren’t obliged to do any actual farming, but livestock and cornfields were naturally very attractive to a young man (me). I was only nine, but I was already an expert at hurting and maiming myself, and the rusty farm equipment, creaky barn with rotten loft boards, storage barns and silos filled with corn quicksand offered a Master’s Degree.
Maybe it’s because I’m an only child and could only terrorize and beat up myself when I got bored, but I did it a lot. On this summer day, I was bored, wandered into the barn and leaned up against the fence that served as the Brady pig’s paddock. They jostled and grunted and I found myself wanting to talk to them. Who knew, maybe they held secrets to life that a nine-year-old could use. I tried grunting and squealing but they paused for only a moment if at all. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t paying attention. If a pig came into my house and started speaking English, even if they weren’t making sense, I would be very impressed, I thought.
Then I remembered something I heard the farmhands say when they fed the pigs; “Swee” or something like that. Maybe that meant something in Pig. So I said it: “Swee!” To a pig, they stopped what they were doing and looked up. “Swee!” I said again. They approached the fence where I stood. “Swee! Swee! Swee!”
The grunting and squealing became high-pitched and urgent. 50 pigs became one wire-haired, roiling mass. I was thrilled; I had spoken and they had responded. I was one of them! Soon, I would meet with their Elder Chief and, together, we would form an alliance.
Flushed with success, I climbed the fence and stepped over onto the ladder to the loft. That’s when I felt a tug on the cuff of my Husky pants. At first, I thought I had snagged it on the fence. I pulled, but not only did the fence resist, but it pulled back. When I looked down, I saw that it wasn’t the fence at all.
Attached to my pants was an enormous sow. It wasn’t long before her effort attracted the attention of more pigs. “This must be the ‘Sow-EEE!’ to which the boy was referring,” thought the pigs, using perfect grammar. Soon, there were pigs on each cuff, and more attacking my shoes. My grip failed under their combined weight, and I tumbled to the ground among them.
They descended on me; prodding me with their snouts and nipping at my clothes. I screamed and struck out with my flabby arms, but it was to no avail…and I fainted.
I don’t know where I went when the shock shut down my consciousness and went into autonomic emergency, I only know it was peaceful. When I awoke, I was still in the sty, but the pigs had lost interest. They would walk by me, sniff, snort and then walk away. My clothes were damp with mud and pig spit, but I was otherwise okay. I jumped the fence and backed away. Only one pig watched me go. When our eyes met, it hit me like a bolt: He saved me.
When I fainted, he must have convinced the others not to eat me. “Fellow pigs, leave this man-let! He is clumsy and dumb! Where is the sport?” “But he promised us ‘Sow-EEE!'” “The Sow-EEE will come!” And they left me alone. But I will always remember the pig’s true nature.
The Swine Flu is their final revenge.
God help us all.