— 4 —— 5 —as clean as an animal that perpetuallywashes itself with its tongue. But I’mallergic to those animals. So one learnsto accept a lower standard, and venturesthe occasional bath. Giving a pig a bathis an unusual situation and the peoplewho sold me the pig don’t address it atall which leads me to think that they musthave a much lower standard of cleanli-ness than I, making it logical that theywould call the pig a clean animal, beingpigs themselves.
The rst thing to do when giving the
pig a bath is to close the door once he’sin the bathroom. The need to close thedoor is indicative of how much pigs like to be bathed. I then move the garbage out of pig reach,start the water, and throw a banana in the tub. Now I lift Sporky, screaming and writhing (let itbe known that pigs can scream like you wouldn’t believe—something they never showed you
on “Green Acres”) into the tub, and then, as he ghts to get out with the banana (in the peel) inhis mouth, I pull the knob for the shower and push him into the spray. Long black hairs, akes of
dandruff, and more dirt than I would want in my bed funnel toward the drain. Still squealing asif I were murdering him, he lunges toward the edge; I push him back and then lather him up withSelsun Blue. Pigs can have the worst dandruff in the world. The literature tells you to feed thempeanut oil and rub lotion into their skin, but it seems to have little effect. I know that pigs havereally similar skin to humans because I read in one encyclopedia that they use pig skin for burnvictims. (My husband, the chemist, also informs me that it is very common to use pigs for testing
new topical drugs.) I gured that dandruff shampoo couldn’t hurt (though I don’t have any statis
-tics on this so don’t sue me if you try it with your own pig) and it actually seems to help. What anice soft pig he is after a bath. The bathroom looks like hell, but the pig is a sweetheart pig.I have a lot of names for that pig, Sweetheart Pig being one of them. Mr. Piggly, Pig-wer, Troublemaker Pig (that’s for when he tears through the garbage and leaves it strewn on the
oor—he got himself trapped in the bathroom once and chomped through every single one of my
used tampons and then pottied on my bra), are all names I call him, but his real name is Sporkywhich we settled on after someone told us that Spork is a meat product similar to Spam. Theysaw it at a grocery store in North Carolina. I wanted to call him Vienna because he’s a miniaturepig, and my husband wanted to call him Gigantor after the cartoon, you know, “Gi-gan-tor, big-ger than big, stronger than strong . . .” I felt fairly unmoved by the song, but I think it must beone of those male-child-in-the-sixties things.I have a friend who also bought a miniature pig from the same company. She named herpig Frances. (Think about breakfast and the seventeenth century for a moment.) We got our pigstogether on a pig date the other day, and though we had a great time walking through a valley of nasturtiums, the pigs couldn’t seem to lose their territorial bent, despite the fact that this wasn’teven their territory. When close to each other, they would chomp their jaws for about a minute.Then they would foam at the mouth for another minute as if they had rabies. While this was go-ing on, the hair on their backs would begin to rise. And after all this had transpired, they wouldthen align like magnets and start to go after each other, but we had them on leashes and wouldn’tlet them. (Not till we have the video camera rolling.)My friend and I had entertained the idea that we might pig-sit for each other during sum-mer vacations, but this put a bit of a damper on the idea. I called the Georgia pig farm and askedthem what to do. I was told, “Oh, honey, they’ll go after each other, but they sure won’t kill eachother. One might just bite a hole in the other’s ear.” When I told my friend this, she gasped.
And I can’t blame her. One chomp and there goes a signicant investment.The pig people did say that after a ght or two, they’d be the best of friends. They just
need to learn who’s dominant. I would have sworn that it would be Sporky, but Frances was the
denite victor. (She’s got some signicant weight on him. We keep Sporky on a strict diet be
-cause we don’t want to alarm the neighbors. We told them that he’s a miniature pig, but now thathe’s 108 pounds—we weighed him when we were really drunk—we seem to have lied. Nowdon’t you go thinking he’s a hog—hogs are 120 pounds, thank you.)Eventually the pigs did six rounds. Poor Sporky was a mama’s boy. He kept trying to hidebehind my legs. But hey, he doesn’t have those feisty hormones running through his body any-more and no doubt he’s wondering why.Pigs are not the most athletic of animals, so after each round of a minute or less, they
would retire to opposite sides of the yard for ten to fteen minutes. We took this opportunity to
share in pig lore. For example, Frances’ owners asked us if Sporky had ever eaten anything thatwe thought would kill him. They told us that Frances ate part of a peanut butter jar once. Withthe peanut butter of course. That made the glass go down easier. See, Frances knows how to openthe refrigerator. They said they thought that she had also eaten Drano. I asked them why theykept Drano in the refrigerator.When Frances came to visit, she was kind enough to show Spork how to do the refrig-erator trick. The thing is, in our house, the freezer is on the bottom. One night I walked in the
kitchen, the freezer door was open and both pigs were staring into it trying to gure out what to
steal. The only way they know what’s good is through their noses. Since everything was frozen,they couldn’t smell anything. It was like they were watching pig TV.Frances’ owners also brought up the fact that when you take a miniature pig for a walk,you must be prepared to be bombarded with questions like,“Is that a pig?” (I now say that Spork is a dog that just lookslike a pig.) “Can I pet him?” “What does he eat?” (My hus-band likes to tell people that if you cut off Spork’s leg andthen fed it to him, he’d be unhappy about it, but he’d eat it.)
“Does he bite?” “Is he xed?” “What does his poop look
like?” (a subject that is intensely interesting to many people).“How much did he cost?” and on and on. I’m embarrassedto tell people how much he cost because most people in theirright mind would have bought scuba equipment or a vaca-tion to Hawaii. Our vacation to Hawaii now rototills the sideyard. My husband calls it “Spork’s Dirt and Rock Garden.”He’s very Japanese. I think of Spork as a “dirt processor.” Heeats soil (for the iron, the pig literature tells me), he poops itout, and we carry it away (so as not to offend the neighbors).My husband believes that the side yard is now an inch lower.