When my daughter was a teenager, she came home from school one day and said to Ervin, ‘Where’s Mum?’ and Ervin said, ‘I swapped her for a piggy.’ and Hana said, ‘Where’s the piggy?’ So they referred to me as The Piggy for a while. I didn’t mind; I love pigs.
We kept them when I was a child. My brothers would catch the slowest piglets from a wild brood. One or two at a time. My first pig was called James Cook Memorial Pig (James for short) because it was the bicentennial of Cook’s landing in Australia that year and I was learning all about it in social studies. (Well, all about the white side of it.)
Did you know that pig is the closest to human milk? If you’re going to give your baby another animal’s milk, it would be best to use pig!
Here, the local council insists that we can’t keep pigs, except on concrete floors attached to a septic system, because we are in the city’s water catchment, and because pigs are genetically so close to humans that we share the same diseases. Meanwhile apples rot on the earth of orchards and the farmers spray the trees with chemicals because codling moth over-winters in windfalls. Pigs and apples go together. Poisons and people don’t.
Nonetheless, despite the council, a couple of years ago a pig appeared at our place.
We called her Alice, as in wonderland. She ploughed up the dirt all around the house with her nose. The council said it wasn’t their problem, that they only collect stray dogs, not stray pigs. The RSPCA said that they only deal with animals in distress. The police said they could only act if she was on the road.
I said, ‘But we live on a blind corner. Someone’ll run into her. Have you ever hit a pig? My dad hit a pig; it’s like hitting a rock.’
‘Look, there’s nothing we can do.’
So Alice stayed, for a week, and then one morning she wasn’t there. She probably went home and became the ‘pig on spit saturday’ advertised at the local pub.
Pigs are very nice people. They smile and nudge your leg for scratches. They leave round muddy nose prints on your bare legs as a gesture of affection. Given room they create their own toilet patch. Perhaps it would be best not to fall down amongst feral pigs if they were hungry, but they haven’t created any wars and, if they know you, they love you. Easily as intelligent as a dog and nicer really, because they don’t need a pack.
And then you eat them. I ate James and several other friends. It’s the simple reality of life. Life eats life. Life eats death. Even a lettuce loves its life; all it wants is to produce seed. Right now my body hosts several kilos of life forms that are not what I call me. When I kark it we will all add to the great mass of life with the nutrients that are our bodies. Piggy will go back to earth. From whence we came.