Painted Pigs … September 20, 2012

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One of the more intriguing chores while traveling on the road is arriving in a new community, establishing a headquarters and locating a grocer who doesn’t charge too much for basic grits and gravy. We used to eat out a lot at restaurants, but that is not only expensive, but much too high in calories and filled with so many unknowns that one feels like a culinary explorer. So we find it much more healthy and wise to eat off of plates instead of styrofoam.

In this pursuit in Marion, Indiana, I was cruising along in my van and was startled to look on one of the corners and see a pig. Now viewing myself as an individual with an open mind, I was willing to accept that in a small farming town, a pig might be allowed to wander at will. But upon careful inspection, I saw that this particular pig was purple, with stripes, and had flowers on his backside. Even though I’m not a farm boy and not very acquainted with the fashion statements of the herd, I was still pretty sure that this was unusual. With a more intense second glance, I realized that this was not a living pig, but rather, a ceramic or tin one, sitting on a street corner, decorated–painted, if you will.

It looked very authentic–so realistic that I was a bit creeped out by the whole experience; because as I turned to the right, there was another one–this particular one, plaid. Straight ahead of me was yet another, adorned in some sort of bonnet.

They were everywhere.

Even though I have lived for many decades on this planet, I suddenly realized that … I don’t like pigs. I don’t know what the source of this disdain for the creature may be. Maybe it’s because I read Animal Farm. Or was it that CSI episode, where they explained that if you threw a dead human  body into a pig pen, that within twenty-four-hours the pigs would eat everything, including the bones. (You have to admit, that’s creepy.)

I kind of think it goes back to the fact that when I was a small child, Porky Pig freaked me out. He was dumb. Or maybe not. But he stuttered. And he was always–pardon the expression–the butt of every joke.

And of course, the Bible doesn’t do anything to help the image of your basic porker. Jesus says not to “cast pearls before swine.” And we also have a gruesome image of hogs running down a hill, possessed by demons, leaping off a cliff and drowning in the water below.

So as I drove through town, I realized that what they were attempting to accomplish was a cute, quaint tipping-of-the-straw-hat to the rural culture that had formed the backbone of their community. And I do have to admit that painted cows on the corners of the street would not have been any more relaxing to this tourist. But there are swans. Ducks. Sheep might even have been better. But pigs … are best “baconed,” ribbed, barbecued, and chopped. And even then, they ultimately get their revenge by hanging around to clog up our arteries and terminate our lives.

I have since been back to the Marion community three times, and have not yet gotten used to the painted pigs. I still fail to remember that they are there and that they’re not really alive, and one time even reflexively slammed on my brakes, thinking that one of them was about to run out in front of me. So if the goal of Marion, Indiana is to present something intriguing or memorable for those individuals passing through their village, they really missed the mark with me. Pigs on the corner of the street do not bring out notions of warmth–fireplaces and farm houses with grain silos filled with provision and goodness. No. Pigs are … piggy.

So in my opinion, it would be better to select some other way to bring coloration to your community. Because honestly, if you’re not supposed to cast your pearls before swine, it probably would be true that putting pearls on swine isn’t any more effective.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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  1. […] Painted Pigs … September 20, 2012 (jonathots.wordpress.com) […]

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