Tuesday, December 18, 2012

conversation with a pig

Wretched pig condemned to dig through festering fetid slop
Your need to feed your ceaseless greed will never let you stop

While waywardly wandering through my solitude, I once again drifted off the beaten path and into reality.  Weary with the changing scenery, I decided to take a short, reflective respite and leaned against a farmer's fence to ponder the pigs.  Done with their daily digging, most of the pigs were sleeping with satisfaction in the sweltering sun.  However, the fattest sow of them all was still ruthlessly rooting through the malodorous muck.  With imprudent indifference to the council of all those concerned for my welfare, I began to think...

"What are you digging for?" I asked curiously
"More" she groaned with a guttural grunt and scarcely a sign of sense.
"What do you mean by more?" I said.  "More of what?"
"What do you mean by what?" she said. "More of more." 
"You don't look as if you need more of anything" I said to her.
"Need?" she said, while eagerly stabbing her snout into a steaming stack of her own stinking shit.
"No, I don't need more of anything.  I just want more of everything"
After a few pathetic thoughts I asked "Does it ever hurt your pride or cause you shame, that your gluttonous greed forces you to dig through slop and shit and putrid slime to get what you want?"
She snorted indignantly.  "It is my willingness to plunge my face into the most repulsive, reeking, rotten swill that has gotten me here today." .
"And, where is that?" I asked.
Halting her horrible hunt, she shook the freshest layer of filth from her face.  Looking at me with a gaze of infinite condescension she said, "Did you not see the blue ribbon on my gate?"
"Uh...no" I replied with all the nonchalance I could bring to bear .  "Realizing how much importance others place on others noticing their accomplishments makes them much easier to ignore" 
"I am a prize pig" she gushed.
"Other than the lurking oxymoron, what does that mean?" I asked.
"It means that I am better than all the rest of the sows in the pen.  Soon they will be sold to the slaughter house.  My ambition, or greed as you call it, has helped me to win that award.  It signifies that I am a superior, more desirable pig. And as such..."
I interrupted, "I should think that just being able to talk would make you a superior pig."
With an impatient look and a helpful tone, she said "I can't really talk, you poor fool. Your mind is unbalanced"
"Oh," I said "that's uh..."
Reciprocating my rudeness, she cleared her throat.  "...AND as such" she barked, irritably continuing her speech.  "I will be spared from their fate. In the end, they are the ones whose pride will hurt worse.  They are the ones who will feel true shame; sold for pennies and consumed by the masses."
"I see your point" I said.
"All of my life I have been ambitious" she said.  "I have had dreams and secret plans of being better than the rest.  I pretended to be like them.  And I pretended to like them, but I never missed an opportunity to take what I could from them so that I would have more."
"You don't think that the excess excrement on your face has betrayed your secret?" I asked with a sarcastic tone and a sinister smile.
Ignoring me, she appeared pensive for a moment.  She squinted out an evil grin and whispered, "You know?...After some time, the taking becomes more enjoyable than the actual having." 
I quickly considered the alternative endings for the life of a pig on a farm and asked, "If you will not be eaten, what then is to become of you?"
"Oh, I WILL be eaten" she said with a twisted sort of pride.  "But I will be sold for a much higher price than all of the others."
Puzzled, I asked "How is that a better fate?"
She shook her head a bit.  "I will explain, but I doubt you will understand.  Look at yourself..." she said with the modicum of disgust that a pig can muster.
"You are a simple, common man.  You will never be wealthy or powerful. You will never amount to anything of value in the world.  You...are an inferior man.  And as such," she added with disdain of the deepest root, "you will never taste my meat."
 "I can see that your meat is of very high quality" I said.  "Unfortunately, due to your disgusting deeds, I must view it through countless, indelible layers of grime.  So it appears a bit unappetizing to me at the moment" I added with subtle spite.
She continued her sickeningly self-absorbed soliloquy, "I have been reserved to satisfy the hunger of a wealthy and noble man; a better man." she said in a sort of self-hypnontic mantra.  "I have done the most vile and deceitful things imaginable to feed my greed and fulfill my dream of being appreciated by someone superior...someone more like me."
"By your logic," I paused for analysis and a bit of drama "the shame is not in being sold; but in being sold for a lower price."
"There is no need for such strict scrutiny of the situation" she said. 
I continued my merciless observation, "Even now that your dream is realized, you still hunt for more.  You will never be satisfied.  Certainly you have come to understand that" 
"Please..." she said, poorly feigning a lack of concern.
"And, did you ever consider the ultimate reality of your circumstance?" I asked wryly.
"Which is...?" she belched softly.
"When he is finished with you, and his desire is satisfied, you will be reduced to shit like the rest of the pigs" I said.
She frowned thoughtfully at the muck for a long moment and said with a sigh, "Look...I'm just a pig.  Did you really expect more of me?"  She paused and stared at the other sows.  Slowly she lowered her brow and said "I have more digging to do.  Please go away."  With that she plunged her filthy face into the foulest filth that she could find and went on with her fate.  As I casually meandered back from reality, I thought long and hard about many of the grey areas of life.  Oddly enough, that night I had taste for pork chops.   Driven by integrity and a commitment to principle, I bought the cheapest ones that I could find.  And, as I endlessly gnawed and gagged down the driest, most tasteless meat I have ever forced myself to consume, I couldn't help but wonder if there was some sort of lesson to be learned from all of this...

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