A pig I am on nodding terms with stopped me in the field the other day waving last week’s column at me. “I have a bone to pick with you,” he said.
“Pigs can’t pick bones,” I said.
“Don’t try to talk semantics,” he said, “You have some nerve pointing fingers at Australians! What about the racism against us pigs?”
“You are not a race, you are a species,” I said.
“Again with the semantics,” he said. “We – and by we, I speak for all pigs – are sick, tired and fed up with this open discrimination against us by humans all over the world.”
“If you are sick and tired, you could be going in for Swine Flu,” I said, “so you better get lost.”
“This is the last straw! You talk so easily of Swine Flu – and by the way, we do not like being referred to as “swine” after it became a curse word. But you tell me, how many pigs do you know suffer from any kind of flu?”
“Well I don’t know many pigs,” I said.
“Precisely,” he said. “And yet you have the gall, the GALL I say, to lay a disease on us. If we had Swine Flu, would we not have given it to our owners? At this rate all pig farmers would be dead by now and all pigs too.”
“No, actually, it’s the rich and famous who are getting it and importing it into the country,” I said.
“So do they fool around with sick pigs in their penthouses and five-star hotels – and I am being heavily sarcastic here, mind you,” he sneered.
“Well a sick pig could have infected a farmer, whose son works in a five star hotel who may have sneezed near the victim who felt so ill that he decided to fly back home, infected everyone in the hotel lobby, the taxi driver, the plane when he returned home,” I said. “They call it Six Degrees of Separation.”
“Well we pigs are going to do something about this nonsense. From the beginning of Time mankind has been talking badly about us. In the Bible demons were exorcised from people and dispatched into pigs. All because they said we had cloven hooves. Let me tell you we have four toes. I shudder to think what those poor pigs with demons cast into them must have been going through,” he said.
“It may be just a myth,” I said. “The pigs I have seen are very happy peace-loving creatures.”
“Look at the phrases and idioms you people use,” he said. “Fat as a pig: Pigs are grotesquely fat only when their owners fatten them up deliberately for the market. Look at wild boars in the jungle – they are lean and mean. And what’s this nonsense of “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” That has to be the silliest thing I have ever heard. It’s really awful the things you people come up with – make a “pig of oneself”. Do we eat any differently from you? You make as much noise and you don’t have to manoeuvre with a snout. Then they talk of buying a “pig in a poke” which means getting cheated in a purchase. What does that have to do with a pig? And some are so wrong scientifically, “sweat like a pig”. We don’t sweat. We don’t possess sweat glands like you disgusting humans. Have you ever seen a sweating pig?”
“No, that I have not,” I said.
“Then why do you come out with such rabid racial slurs?” he asked.
“I guess we’re just mean and thoughtless,” I said.
“We were thinking of migrating to the Middle East en masse, but then we heard the Egyptian government had started destroyed all pigs in the country, and it might become a fashion in the Middle-East,” he said. “We would be safe in the Middle East because no one eats pork there and at least our lives would be spared.”
“Well no one is going to kill you here,” I said. “At least not because of Swine Flu. They also said it is no longer called Swine Flu, it is now known as the H1N1 virus.”
“That may be, but everyone still refers to it as Swine Flu,” he said.
“Well I heard it was a huge pharmaceutical scam to sell flu drugs, but if you take Tamiflu as a preventive, it won’t work if you actually get H1N1,” I said.
“So buying Tamiflu would be like buying a pig in a poke, eh?” he chuckled.
“I guess,” I said, “but see the silver lining. Many people have stopped eating pork and chances are you will live to a ripe old age.”
“People stop eating pork? Cocktail sausages? Choris? Bacon? Sorpotel? Fried pork ribs? In a pig’s eye, they’ll stop eating pork! My owner will be coming after me any day now. He has that measuring look in his eye,” he said.
“Easy to avoid it,” I said. “Just stop eating like a pig and start sneezing.”