The Three Little Pigs and the HOA
Just guessing, but I bet you remember the story of the Three Little Pigs. It was a hopeful story meant to teach us youngins the value of hard work and that laziness and slothfulness would likely bring trouble. But with enough cunning, you could turn the table on your antagonist and live happily ever after.
If not for opportunities to tell our stories of falling out of a tree or being chased by a mule, why would we gather? We might as well glue our faces to a digital device and depart into the cloud of digital entertainment.
My favorite part was watching my dad puff up his jowls and blow mightily when telling of how the big bad wolf would destroy the little pig’s home. “And I’ll puff (big blow), and I’ll huff (bigger blow), and I’ll blow your house down (huge blow)!
But the Three Little Pigs is a very old story. First printed in 1840, it is thought to be much older. For centuries, pigs were an important part of ancient daily life. The kids grew up with the family pig. They knew their snorts and smells and grew strong eating pork bellies and bacon. When allowed to roam freely between the house and shed, some would find the edge of the forest and never return. The run-aways would be known as ‘feral’ pigs and now roam the countryside, occasionally becoming a pork roast for a wolf or two.
But much has changed from the days when pigs were raised in the family shed to feed the family. Or to be bartered for a clutch of chicks or an old cow. Butcher day was likely a family affair with everyone having a role. I imagine the kids being in charge of the catch with dad doing the killing. Hung up by the heals, they disemboweled, halved, salted, and stored the carcass in the cool of the shed. Now, the family had pork chops and ham hocks for a year, and the children grew up with an intimate sense of where their food comes from.
Just another guess, but unless a modern city-raised kid goes to a country fair, they have never laid eyes on a living pig or smelled that rather pungent body odor or that they are messy eaters. Nor would they know that pigs come in nearly every color humans do. Pink, brown, black, and every shade in between. Some have hair, and some don’t. Some are more curious than others, and some become obese.
I’m whispering now. What I’m about to tell you could cause sensitive children and their adult overseers nightmares. Sows, the mama pigs, are terrible mothers. Yes, they have row upon row of teets to feed the piglets, but when rolling over to become more comfortable, a perfectly healthy piglet or two or more are sometimes suffocated by their very own mother. Eventually, they roll over and take out a couple more while showing little if any sorrow or remorse. What started as a drift of a dozen or so piglets that mama can easily support gets widdled down to sometimes two or three. Occasionally, all will have been snuffed out.
Every time I ponder this most common of pig behavior, it causes me to doubt my orthodox Darwinian beliefs. What possible evolutionary benefit is there to mama rolling over and offing her offspring? Is this some form of inhumane birth control? Or, heaven forbid, one species practice of choosing a very, very late-term abortion?
There is even a good chance that some kids think that pigs talk and cavort across species and possess the same emotions we humans have. And why not? The nearest they’ve been to farm animals has been watching Disney movies. Disney has animated nearly every animal species into replicating human behavior- even evil human behavior that, if I were an animal, I would be most upset.
Today, we live amongst those who believe everything must be rearranged- including our stories and the meaning of words. The centuries-old story of The Three Little Pigs and its admonition to work hard and competently build strong things is on the cultural chopping block. Some wish the world to see those virtues as examples of white supremacy. With great hubris, some are calling for a ‘great reset.’ A reimagining of the order of things as if one can shape and shift human behavior with pastel platitudes, fanciful theories, and simplistic ideologies.
Yet, our children and grandchildren want to hear stories- and we want to tell them. We, too, have stories of danger and survival and things we’ve learned the hard way. Our stories create threads to the past and give our children clues as to where they come from. It is why we gather for birthday parties and sit around campfires and listen intently to eulogies at funerals. If not for opportunities to tell of falling out of a tree or being chased by a mule, why would we gather? We might as well glue our faces to a digital device and depart into the cloud of digital entertainment.
The next pandemic will be one of loneliness.
Speaking of sitting around the campfire, I thought I’d give a go at modernizing the story of the Three Little Pigs. With my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, I hope your grandchildren enjoy it.
The Three Little Pigs
Boys and girls and, oh, I’m sorry, I failed to ask you what is your preferred pronoun, sweetheart?
Rabbit Raisin? Oh. Ok. Let me start over.
Boy and girls and Rabbit Raisin, the year is 2039.
Taking advantage of new anti-specie discrimination legislation and government-mandated vegan dietary rules, three little pigs, possibly feral pigs, managed to each get a home loan for the construction of a new home for each of them. These loans were unique in that they were modeled after the free education loans which allowed a student to get a loan without any expectation of having to pay it back. Based on the same New Monetary Theory adopted by government economists, home mortgages were to be forgiven too.
Each piggie wished to build their home in the same lovely gated subdivision, complete with an HOA, next to a dark forest. As with we humans, each piggie desired a home reflecting their differing personalities.
The first and youngest of the piggies was all about saving the environment. He insisted on building a home made of straw. And indeed, a straw home could be made to be very energy efficient. But the HOA architectural committee was concerned about how thick the walls were and if the straw represented a significant fire danger.
The neighborhood gossip vine began to imagine all sorts of abominations of a home. The neighbors soon worked themselves into a lather and started whispering and chuckling about the kind of barbecue they’d have if the piggie were allowed to build a ‘straw’ house. “It’ll be a wiener roast, folks!” Chuckle…chuckle…chuckle.
The second and slightly older pig was a thoroughly modern piggie. She wanted a high-tech home made with sticks of 2-bys and stucco with big windows and wifi-enabled automatic flushing toilets. She presented a beautiful rendering to the architectural committee, who were all pleased but for one detail. She would have to choose another color for her front door. Pink was not one of the seven allowed colors.
But the second little piggie had a bigger problem. It didn’t seem to matter to the pig world she grew up in, but her spotted pink and black skin seemed to bother the neighborhood. Or at least that is what she was told. On a visit to her new neighborhood, a resident pulled her aside for a private conversation. “Look, miss piggie, you being both black and pink, a half breed, will present a problem to these rubes. They’re all a bunch of racists, you know, and they’ll shun you.”
Fortunately, the neighborhood wasn’t full of racist rubes. In fact, when the piggie did move into her beautiful stick-built home, the only neighbor to shun her was the woman who warned her.
The third and oldest piggie was very much old school. A traditionalist. He dreamed of living in a three-story brick colonial. And that is what he presented to the HOA architectural committee, not knowing that a three-story home goes against the HOA rules.
It was in that meeting that the pig poo hit the fan. “Mr. Pig!” a red-faced committee chairperson who doesn’t menstruate yelled with blown-up jowls, “Are you stupid? We don’t build old brick colonials anymore. They represent a time in our colonial past that was full of oppression and brutality. Now get out and don’t come back until you have a ‘conforming’ home plan to show us!”
Mr. Piggie sat slumped and silent for a moment. Finally, he grew the courage to ask a question, “May I at least have a brick home? There’s a forest off my backyard and if a wolf were to attempt to blow my house down with the force of a hurricane, I want it to stand firm.”
In a hammock just far enough into the dark forest to remain hidden, swings the big bad wolf. With a devilish toothy grin, he watches with amusement the comings and goings of the three little pigs as they navigate the HOA and attempt to build their homes. Naturally, he wished them good luck.
The wolf will watch patiently. Maybe it is wolf instinct that tells him to bide his time. Something tells him that eventually, the humans will kill the pigs but will not eat them. He’ll enjoy the ribs for months without ever huffing or puffing.