Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Everything's Coming Up Pigs

Played Scrabble last night with a friend who gave me a bottle of Purel as a hostess gift. Given the state of my housekeeping, from anyone else this would have been seen as a provocative act, but from this particular person it was meant as a blessing. As in, "may you not succumb to swine flu as you go about life."

While I haven't (yet) succumbed to swine flu, despite not increasing the number of times I wash my hands and continuing brazenly to shake hands with people during the greeting time at church, pigs do seem to be a recurring theme lately.

Take, for instance, the revolting-yet-enthralling book I just finished: Rose George's THE BIG NECESSITY: THE UNMENTIONABLE WORLD OF HUMAN WASTE AND WHY IT MATTERS. (How I managed to finish this book is a testament to its interesting-ness because it was not one you could read while eating.) I highly recommend this trip around the world, to see how various countries and cultures deal (or don't) with the problem of human waste. In rural China George discovers "biogas" digesters--the poop of people and their pigs gets composted, and as it ferments, the gas produced runs the family's stove and other basics! Good-bye, deforestation! This is also an important read if you ever wondered what kind of toilet J-Lo has in her house.

Then there are the wonderful, scene-stealing pig passages in Michael Pollan's THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA and Novella Carpenter's FARM CITY. Pigs really do eat everything, and the world is a better place for it. In Carpenter's case she was trying to raise pigs in an abandoned lot in Oakland, and to satisfy their bottomless appetites, she spent much time every week Dumpster diving for everything from fish guts to birthday cakes.

My kids even caught the pig brainwave, checking out the delightful PING PONG PIG by Caroline Jayne Church, a book you figure had to be written after she came up with such a wonderful title.

I had my own PING PONG PIG moment yesterday when I was talking to my husband and came up with the title PIG FARMER'S DAUGHTER (doesn't that book beg to be written? And shelved right next to COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER? It could be a series!). But then Scott burst my bubble, informing me that the title A PIG FARMER'S DAUGHTER was already taken, it having been the one and only "adult" film his parents had seen, back in the Swinging '70s. In these days of Google, and given my platform of church-related people, I probably don't want them searching on my title and coming up with a porn film. And I don't dare Google it myself, considering the unholy amounts of spam I already receive on myriad not-ready-for-primetime topics.

Alas, the world will never know what it lost when it lost PIG FARMER'S DAUGHTER.

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