Yesterday morning my 16-year-old son and I had to get up at the sliver of dawn to get him to the University of Utah by 7:45 a.m. so he could take the ACT test for college. Unfortunately for him he was sequestered most of the day in Warnock Hall (which always looks like “Warlock” Hall to me) in the middle of the U of U campus exercising his little brain until smoke trickles out his ears.
But enough about him. Let’s get to me.
Because I was his ride down I needed to find something to do for these many hours. I went to the Coffee Garden on Main Street in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, bought myself a 20 oz. almond milk latte and a freshly baked scone, booted up my computer and thoughtfully decided that I’d get a boatload of work done.
However, 45 minutes into my disciplined sojourn, I saw a man walking down Main Street, SLC, with a pig on a leash.
Yes, you read that right, a pig. Not a cute, pigmy, Vietnamese Potbellied Pig that celebrities like George Clooney use as an accessory when they pose for the Paparazzi, but rather a great big, 4-H project, Farmer-in-the-Dell, I’m-gonna-build-my-house-out-of-sticks, Hormel ham-in-can pig that could probably take down a Malamute in a mud wrestle. That kind of pig.
Pig on a Leash or Loch Ness Monster?
Seeing as this was akin to spying Big Foot in the Tillamook Forest or a Yeti in the Himalayas, I decided I needed to get a picture of this. I mean, as an artist how many times do you get the chance to frame up a hog, a hipster, and a homeless person all in the same viewfinder? Set against the backdrop of the mother-ship Mormon Temple, no less? I’m smelling Pulitzer here.
I dug my ancient iPhone 4S out of my purse, but by the time I got the damn thing to wake up, the man and his pig on a leash had passed by the window of the coffee bar. (I swear I’ve missed more unbelievable, award-winning shots due to out-of-date technology. Don’t even get me started on the Siamese twins and their dog singing Bohemian Rhapsody in three-part harmony on a commuter train in Berlin. Heartbreaker.) So I packed up my stuff and ran out into the pouring rain to follow them. Because, you know, I had to. It was my duty as a pseudo journalist.
It did briefly cross my mind that stalking a pig on a leash in downtown SLC was not how I was going to get my work done. However, this was just a brief interlude, I reasoned with myself. After all, a pig high-stepping it down Main Street beats that snooty, temperamental Muse who drops in on my psyche whenever she feels like it just to taunt me. So in this case that bitch could just wait.
A Man and His Pig Walk into a Bakery…
Once outside I realized I’d lost the pig. So I did what any sane person would do. I got in my car and trolled the streets of downtown until I spotted the pig and his owner entering a bakery. (Wait, what?) I fumbled with my camera while navigating downtown traffic and snapped their picture out my passenger window. Did I get it? No! Motherf*&$#r! I missed it again! That stupid Apple smartphone needs “iViagra,” or something, to get up and running when I need it to work. All I got was a shot of the front of the bakery. And by the way, why would anyone put a pig in the same room with puffed pastry unless it was the guest of honor in a Quiche Lorraine?
Geez, now I had to park and get my ass into that bakery.
Naturally, the only parking spot I could find was four blocks away.
By the time I made it into the bakery I was sopping wet and out of breath from running around downtown like The Big Bad Wolf on crack. And wouldn’t you know it? The pig was gone. But I did get the scoop from a patron who was thoroughly entertained by my tenacity.
Turns out the hog is a therapy pig, by doctor’s orders. So the man can take his pig wherever he wants. I’m not sure what the man’s issue is that a pig would cure, but I suspect he got the pig when it was a piglet, thinking it was a miniature version, but then it grew to be the size of small country. By then I bet he was attached and wanted to keep the pig as a pet in his luxury, downtown, penthouse condo. However, I’m sure the neighbors had something to say about it. Enter a shrink with a prescription pad, and BAM! Therapy pig. (I’m totally speculating here, so just go with it.)
As I drove back to the U of U to pick up my son, I realized two things. One, I had completely wasted my morning chasing a pig around downtown SLC, in the rain, and had nothing to show for it, except drenched hair and a wool coat that smells like dirty sheep and hemp when it gets wet. (Don’t ask.) And two, this “therapy” dodge is something I need to investigate further. Upon self-examination I do believe I have a condition in which I can’t go anywhere without my therapy “Grey Goose.” Now if I can just figure out a way to get a doctor to prescribe vermouth and olives to go with that, I’m all set.
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Stacy Dymalski is an award-winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamorous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage. For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in bookstores and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
Also check out her new book, “THE MEMOIR MIDWIFE: Nine Steps to Self-Publishing Your Book”, which is available in select bookstores and on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.