The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

LIONS AND TIGERS AND PIGS, OH MY!: A good friend of mine, who for reasons best known to herself actually chose to become a librarian, as opposed to drifting into the profession like I did, informs me that a pig’s orgasm lasts for half an hour and that during the mating season a lion may copulate with a lioness as many as fifty times in a given day. Faced with the pig-lion karmic conundrum, my friend says that she would rather come back as the pig, her thinking being that quality beats quantity every time.

I beg to differ. First, how does anyone really know how long a pig’s orgasm lasts? What if they’re just faking it to make their partner feel good about themselves and to justify smoking more than one cigarette once the fun stops? The other thing I would want to know is who is timing the pig’s orgasm and just how does one enter such a field of scientific endeavor? When we were kids many of us wanted to be scientists (I didn’t; I wanted to be a racetrack announcer at Belmont) and explore the mysteries of nature, discover cures to dangerous diseases, and uncover the existence of hitherto unknown planets. I am sure that no one who actually became a scientist imagined the day that they would be standing off to one side with a stopwatch in their hands watching two horny hogs get it on and knowing that whatever else they might do to advance human knowledge, this particular fact will be what they are remembered for.

Let’s go a little further then and look at pigs and lions etymologically. Lions are leonine (appropriately enough), proud, arrogant, overbearing, majestic symbols of imperialism and of the New York Public Library, where the stone lions, Patience and Fortitude, look down from their perches on 5th Avenue and wonder as they survey the passing throng, can any of you idiots actually read? I strongly suspect that they feel this way because, despite their many protestations to the contrary, both of them are Boston Red Sox fans.

The words describing pigs, on the other hand, are almost all pejorative. Where lions are noble, pigs are filthy; where lions are proud and majestic, the king of beasts, pigs are filthy treyf haram loathsome swine that wallow in their own muck like a bunch of pigs. In fact, the only positive words you can use about pigs are words like these: bacon, ham, prosciutto, sausage, pork chops, pork loin, chitlins, pig’s knuckles, pickled pig’s snout (big in Vietnam), arroz con gandules y pernil, etc., etc., you get the picture. I find it hard to think of a similar set of synonyms for lions. There’s the story of Samson killing a lion and later finding a beehive in the lion’s skull, but the bees were not eating the lion; they were only renting until something more affordable came along, so I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. Upon further reflection, I don’t believe there is a similar set of words for lions in any language that has lions in it, a thought that leads me, at long last, to the point of this screed, which that while orgasm is a wonderful thing, a point we can all agree upon, I’m sure, you will enjoy the orgasm more, however long it lasts, when you know that you are not going to be Sunday's dinner.


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