When Pigs Fly


OPINION — Pigs have been a large part of my life. My family raised hogs when I was a kid, and I can tell you they’re fine animals. They’re intelligent and make great pets, not to mention the fact that certain parts of them taste remarkably like bacon. I knew they were great swimmers, but what I didn’t know is that they also make pretty good divers.

The owner of a pig farm in China recently spent four months teaching his feeder pigs to dive into a pond from a ten-foot platform. They all dive three times a day, and some of them enjoy it so much they voluntarily climb up the ramp and dive up to thirty times a day. The owner claims the diving makes the pigs thicker and happier, and causes them to taste better. Personally I doubt that, but you never know.

Watch: Flying pigs in China:
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What I do know is that the Muslims and Israelis are missing out, since neither groups eats pork. A lot of people have tried to engender peace in the Middle East for centuries, but it will never happen as long as those two groups eschew bacon. If we could convert all those folks to Christianity, haul in a few million hogs, and hold a huge cookout, the strife in the Middle East would be history in a week. It’s impossible to stay mad at someone with your belly full of barbecued pork loin and jalapenos.

Barring conversion, the problems in the Middle East could be solved in a few months by trapping all the hogs we can catch in the southern United States and airlifting them over to Israel and Palestine, and turning them loose. Since the Israelis and Palestinians can’t stand hogs, they’d be so busy trying to eradicate the pigs they wouldn’t have time to fight each other. It would also go a long way toward thinning out the porkers over here.

I had several pet pigs while I was growing up, but one of them stands out. His name was Charlie, and he was a full-blooded Hampshire, the black ones with the wide white stripe over their shoulders and down both front legs. Charlie was the runt in a litter of 13, so I fed him from a bottle, and he got attached to me. He learned to play a guitar and drive a car . . . no, wait, that was my brother.

But Charlie did learn to climb fences, and every time we opened the back door of our house he would come squealing into the house, and I’d have to chase him down and put him back outside. I’d take him and put him back in the hog pen with the others, and by the time I walked back to the house he would be right behind me. That went on for several months, until we finally invited him for supper. He was delicious.

Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back I wish I’d taught Charlie a few tricks. I think I could’ve coerced him to dive into a pond, especially if I’d done it first. He followed me everywhere. He might’ve like it. Come to think of it, maybe I should’ve taken him bungee jumping.

A Chinese theme park graciously allowed a pig to take advantage of their facilities a while back, possibly making history as the only porker to ever go bungee jumping. The owners of the Meixin Red Wine amusement park in Chongqing hooked the hog up in a harness and helped it take the dive off the high platform, evidently as a publicity stunt. Note to amusement park owners: Never pitch a pig off a bungee platform. When the video got out, the park was deluged with messages from angry people.

Seriously, I have to agree. It was a bad idea. I would never have actually taken Charlie bungee jumping, unless he wanted to go. This is the 21st century, and we have to be sensitive about such things. Plus I’ve bungee jumped, myself, and I can’t say I’d recommend it for a human, much less a hog. I was shamed into the activity by my son, and it turns out that jumping off a 175-foot tower is a lot like jumping off a 175-foot tower. Gravity plays a major role in the affair.

Gravity also played a pivotal part in an event that happened in Punta del Este, Uruguay recently, when someone dropped a pig from a helicopter into the swimming pool at a millionaire’s home. For some reason. There’s a video, but no one has yet figured out why they did it, although the hog seemed to be deceased when it happened. The homeowner didn’t own an amusement park, or else I’d think there might be a connection with the Chinese thing.

One thing is sure, though – hogs are essential to health and happiness in life, as long as you’re not Israeli or Muslim. They’re great listeners, and seldom rob convenience stores or hijack planes. Just don’t ever ask your pet pig to watch your sandwich for you. I won’t make that mistake again . . .


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