Saturday, September 11, 2004


Last night as I was driving down the mountain in the rain for reasons utterly irrelevant to this post, my headlights shone upon a very puzzled young inoshishi (wild pig). Judging by his size he was just a teenager, standing by the farm cooperative’s new rice fence in the downpour, doing his porkiest to figure out why he couldn’t get to the fragrantly ripened rice that was right there before his nose. He’d been seeking a way to fine dining through whatever was standing in his way in the dark, then I came along and shed light on his dilemma; he once was blind, but now he saw: there was a very big new fence between him and the rice.

As I say, he was only a teenager, and he was alone, so his blunder was understandable. The odd thing was, he didn’t panic at sight and approach of the blinding machine I was driving; he just sort of stood there staring at the fence for a while in this new light, he was in no particular hurry as the cold suns of my car edged closer and closer (I was slowing down); then he decided: no, there is no way in to the rice at this point; nor is there any escape uphill, whence this monster is approaching; escape downward is too far; I’d better leap into the bamboo on the other side of the road! He abruptly turned and did that very thing, with all the agility and power a teenager can command.

But I guess being so young the teen porker lacked some important local information, most notably the fact that this particular section of the other side of the road is owned by the power company; so, behind a thin border of wild bamboo and vinings, it is surrounded by a strong cyclone fence.

Now anyone who knows pigs (I used to work on a pig farm) knows that a pig’s snout is its Achilles heel. So that must have hurt in a mythic way. But then again, this was a teenager, and anyone who’s been around a teenager for more than half an hour knows that they are strangely immune to accidents that appear extremely painful to the adult observer. So the pig just sort of staggered around in the road (I was fully stopped by now, lest the pig in his beastly stupor mistake the van for an attacker) until he regained operative consciousness, when he aimed for another spot of safety in the thicket and WHANG! hit the fence again. His IQ was plummeting at each attempt, so to keep him from reaching zero I slowly edged by as he bumbled around on the roadside readying for another go.

When I returned about an hour later, there was no sign of the young porker; I imagine when he got home the first thing he said, when everypig looked at his nose, was “Don’t ask.”


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