Learning from Herman…

I’m a huge fan of pigs.  I think they might be the most underrated animal out there.  Throughout history, pigs have been portrayed as dirty, dumb, and lazy but, in actual fact, pigs are clean, bright, and energetic.  Pigs can be house-trained and leash-trained more easily than dogs, and they can be just as loyal.  One Vietnamese pot-bellied pig actually risked her own life to save her owner.  At 150-pounds, Lulu managed to squeeze out through a doggie door and played dead in the street until she was able to lead a passing motorist into the house where her owner was having a heart attack.  Pigs are awesome.

If you’re at all skeptical about the allure of pigs, consider a few famous examples:  Porky Pig, Arnold Ziffel (from Green Acres), Miss Piggy, and Babe.  Four very different pigs but all incredibly popular for their own individuality and quirks.  My own pig is a very alluring, chunky, stuffed, pink specimen named Herman.  From the day I met Herman, he was making a difference.  I bought him at a silent auction during a fundraiser to send a team to Haiti for a week to help rebuild after the earthquake of 2010.  Like most of us, he no doubt wished he could make a bigger difference but every little bit counts.

The main thing I’ve learned about pigs is that they’re lovable, and they want to be loved.  They can be cute but they’re rarely handsome.  They’re almost never skinny but instead comfortably portly.  They’re judged by how they look, and they’re judged by stereotypes and gossip that’s often accepted as truth instead of mere conjecture.  People rarely want to look below the surface to see if pigs are worth getting to know.  They’re more interested in what a pig can do for them than in what they can do for a pig.

I think I identify with pigs because I’m often as misunderstood as they are.  People make assumptions about me based on what they see, what other people have said about me, their own comfort level, and stereotypes.  But, when people really take the time to get to know me, I’m often not at all what they expected.  And I think a lot of people would say the same is true of them.

It’s really a shame because Herman is an extraordinary pig.  It’s just a matter of taking the time to get to know him.  Just like it’s just a matter of taking the time to get to know me.  Or to know you.  You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.  After all, you can’t (accurately) judge a pig by his ‘cover’.


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