In a Pig’s Ear (or Two)

Let me first make it clear that I do not, contrary to what you may have heard, spoil my dogs. Or, as you will see, my employees.

The people to blame for this one are Lili and Mary. They came over for dinner one night, years ago. As they walked in the front door, Mary pulled something from a paper bag. “Do your dogs like…” she started, as my wolf levitated across the room, grabbed it from her hand and ran out back with it. Thus were we introduced to pig ears.

Yup, real dried pig ears from real pigs. You may have seen them in the pet store, along with lamb lungs, cows’ ears, and other things I’d rather not inspect too closely. They are truly disgusting. You can see the little veins, and sometimes there are hairs. They might be notched. They smell pretty much like you would expect. One of my friends asked me if they kill the pigs first, leaving me with a lasting image of fields full of frolicking piggies with little Van Gogh bandages on their heads… No one in their right mind (sorry, Mary!) would ever purchase these. Except for one thing–dogs adore them. When two big hungry dogs are on a pig-ear jones, baby you’d better go shopping.

Soon my dogs were hooked to the tune of two a day each. They’re not cheap, either–$1 apiece. I was considering taking out a second mortgage. Then my assistant, Paula, found them somewhere up in Burbank for half price. But you had to buy in quantity.

Which is what we did. At 100 per box, we usually had 2-300 on hand. I tried to concentrate on the great pleasure my dogs got from them, and not the karmic consequences of having hundreds of dead-animal parts in the house. (I have this feeling I’ll be met at the Pearly Gates by hundreds of pigs shouting, “What do you have to say for yourself? Eh? What’s that?”) Ethical questions aside, I didn’t have much choice–my life is a lot easier when the dogs are happy. Then we moved.

The Moving Doctor (AKA Tom Nevermann) is a marvel, as his many satisfied clients will tell you. You walk out your door one day, and walk into your new house a few days later. Everything is organized and put away. You never have to see a box or deal with the cable guy. However, TMD and his staff are only human. Occasional small glitches occur. So I was not immediately worried when we couldn’t find the pig ears at the new house. Until the second day or so, when the dogs were getting surly. I called Tom. He called his staff. No one knew where they were. We tried the garage. We tried the office. (Okay, so where do YOU keep YOUR dead porcine products?) I accused his staff of having a party. One of his organizers, Carol, replied, “Sure, she trusts me to put away her jewelry, but I had my eye on those pig ears!” My greatest fear was that we wouldn’t find them until the next move. The only things possibly more disgusting than pig ears are antique pig ears.

Not a problem, Paula went shopping again. She also scored a coup–the nail polish I like had been sold out for months, but she found a store with five bottles. She was on a roll. Now you’d think Paula had learned her lesson about leaving things in her car overnight. After all, there was the time she dropped my groceries off on a hot summer day and it wasn’t until three days later she found the pound of fresh shrimp in her trunk. Well, not so fresh anymore. Still, the pig ears and nail polish seemed safe enough locked in the car in her parking garage. Until the thieves broke in.

I’m sure life at the Burbank Police Station is ordinarily lively enough. But this may have been the first time someone called in to report 300 stolen pig ears. There was some confusion. (“She had 300 PIGS in her car???”) They weren’t sure if the nail polish was for the pigs, too. We surmised the thieves would A) be a bit surprised, B) be smelling a bit more porky than they expected, and C) have fabulous manicures. Paula kept getting calls from police clerks and insurance adjusters, “I’m sure this must be a typo, but it says here…” But then, she’s used to public embarrassment. Last week she bought nineteen boxes of Frosty Paws (doggie ice cream) at the grocery store and nothing else.

The week after his fight with Holyfield, someone sent 12 pig ears to Mike Tyson. The Phoenix, AZ, post office handled them like any other mail. They weren’t in an envelope, but they were properly addressed with correct postage. I’m not saying there’s any connection, mind you. I personally moved on long ago. I stopped frequenting the disgusting-animal-parts aisle at the pet store after just one more purchase. I am not a vengeful person, but I just couldn’t resist. For Christmas last year, I had a little something special for Mary & Lili’s dogs. Gaily-wrapped pig snouts, li’l nostrils and all. You might be surprised to learn some people are extremely ungrateful at Christmas time.

Copyright 1997 by Jzine. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission