And this little piggy came home

“How can someone forget that they bought a pig!?”

I have to say, on reflection, that my wife had a point. I have started to forget things more and more often, but they’re usually the little things I forget, not the big ones. I’m sure I would have remembered buying a pig.

“Did you let the cat out?” Sue will ask. I have to think very hard before I can say with confidence, “I don’t remember.” One Thursday I forgot to put out the trash, even though I knew it was Thursday and trash day has been Thursday for as long as I can remember, which is about the last three months. I’ve been missing my iPod for nine weeks now. (I bought a new one and still the old one hasn’t shown up.) There’s no counting the times I have walked into a room to get something and forget what it was. I used to be able to remember to put out the trash and to take something out of the freezer for dinner and to let the cat in at the same time. Now it’s one or the other, but not all three and rarely two.

I write a new to-do list every day. Most days, I forget to look at it. Tomorrow I will make a new list starting with everything I forgot to do today. But nowhere on that list does it say, “Tell Sue I bought a pig,” which is why she was so surprised by a message on the machine yesterday announcing: “Your pig is ready, when do you want us to deliver it?”

After reeling off, finger by finger, the long list of stupid things I have ever done by date and day, she announced that this had to be the stupidest. After a little phone tag, it turns out I did not buy a pig – not a whole one at least. I bought a quarter of one.

I had forgotten that, months ago at the farmer’s market, Betsy and Brian said they were raising a pig and wondered where they were going to put all the meat. I mentioned that I could use some pig. A friend next to me said he’d take some pig and a third person in line at their farm stand said she could use some pig. I promptly forgot about it, moved to the next stand and bought some tomatoes. Sure, I could have told Sue to make room for, oh, 50 or 60 pounds of pork in the freezer. But you know how it is, one thing drives out the other.

Besides, Sue is a big fan of pork and pork products. She could easily become the Bubba Gump of pork; she prepares it in every imaginable way many times a week. I can easily imagine her saying one morning, “Would you like some sausage with your bacon?” What could possibly be more thoughtful, more romantic, more dashing than surprising a woman with huge amounts of farm-fresh pork? It would make those men who buy their wives flowers and jewelry look cheap and out-of-touch. But thinking that we were about to become the owners of an entire, live, large, barnyard animal took much of the romance out of the moment. In fact, it was downright ugly, a side of her that I had never seen before. Then I remembered that I had done this once before, last month; the reason we were eating so much pork in the first place. Still, I didn’t deserve such a tongue-lashing. You just can’t make some people happy.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at

Copyright 2010, United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

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