Last winter, as it always does, tried to kill us all. The weather broke just before I did. When I could take no more and the snowblower was dead and the pony trailer was on flats and the woodpile was almost consumed and I had a serious desire to set fire to my snowshoes, spring slouched into our lives. It arrived like a slacker teenager; late and hungover and with no good excuse for the dent in the family sedan.
I looked out the window at the melting snow and sighed. My dog looked out the same window and sighed too. Good dog.
Mrs. Curmudgeon was happily chatting about female things which happen on a different wavelength than I hear. On the other other end of the line was her good friend the Foxinator.
The Foxinator is also our pig supplier. Is that the right term? Pig supplier? I’d prefer “bacon pusher” but that’s just me. Frankly I wasn’t sure buying pigs was a wise idea. Maybe she’d forget last summer when I’d promised to buy piglets?
“Oh that’s awesome!” Mrs. Curmudgeon was saying.
I had other concerns. Should I get a beer? My dog seemed to think so. Good dog.
With no warning at all, Mrs. Curmudgeon hit me with the question. “Foxinator wants to know how many piglets you want.”
Shit! I was still on the hook. What had I gotten myself into?
I’m not sure of the protocol with pigs. All I knew is that little critters would arrive weaned from their mom. I was vague on the details. I expected them to be somewhere in size between a football and a laundry basket, information beyond that unknown. Eventually, and hopefully well before deer season, I would haul them to a nice man with a white apron who would turn them into bacon. Because bacon is the right and true path.
Like all farming, buying young critters is a gamble. How many did I really want? I’m a busy man. How much work is a stupid pig? Probably too much.
On the other hand the news said something about a swine illness. It might affect our tactical bacon supply. Dare I jump on it and hope for soaring prices? (A practice alternatively called “adaptation” or “gouging” depending on your political tendencies and proximity to the free shit army.)
Piglets aren’t cheap. They take time and they eat like teenagers. Each additional pig is doubling down on labor and feed. For what? Is it really a horrible fate to buy bacon at the store? How much does feed cost? My fence would need a serious upgrade. Oh the complexity that bacon greed creates in the hearts of men!
We only need one pig for the freezer. Maybe just one would be wise? That would be enough to dip my toe in the water without working too hard.
“Foxinator says you should have at least two. They get greedy over food and will eat faster because they’re in competition.”
Damn it! So much for raising just enough for the family. How hard would it be to sell a second one? When I sell meatbirds (chickens) people stampede to shove money in my pocket and bitch when I can’t raise more. Bacon should be even easier. Should I say “fuck it” and buy a dozen? Is it possible to have too much bacon?
In a flurry of arbitrary random numbers I tried to focus on getting just two pigs. I couldn’t hold the idea in my head.
Greed took over. What about the swine illness? Would that mean spiking prices and the horror of bacon shortages? Would profiting from a bacon shortage be evil? Did I care? I’m not Google. Besides, Google really is evil and I’m just talking about raising pork. Raising bacon; wouldn’t that make me a hero?
Mrs. Curmudgeon eyed my suspiciously. She’s not quite as on board with this stuff as I am.
This brought me back to reality. Perhaps too many pigs would foment disharmony? There’s a line somewhere. Eventually I’d need to leave on a trip. Feed duty for too many squealing jerks might cause Mrs. Curmudgeon to rethink the free spirited and handsome stud she married. Would she pine for the lifestyle afforded by men who don’t worship bacon? Best not to risk it. Three seemed safe; the optimum balance between my desire for all the bacon and the limited labor I can put to the task.
“Three.” I said with more confidence than I felt.
Mrs. Curmudgeon, without hesitation, repeated it to Foxinator. The die was cast.