Developing A Phobia

Developing a phobia is quite simple when you are a pig named Hamlet. Now, please understand… I told Hamlet (when he weighed 6 pounds) that he was 50% angel and 50% total delight. I never told him he was pork, nor once did I mention he was a pig. I also made sure it was never mentioned in any of his reviews. He was always referred to as “the star”.

My mother and I were having breakfast out in the gazebo one morning. My cousin, who lived next door, had come over to visit while we ate. She had already had her morning meal with her mother, my mother’s sister, earlier. My aunt was on the riding lawn mower mowing our little 5 acres. My mom did not have on her hearing aids. The roar of the lawnmower made it even more difficult to communicate with my mother that morning.

The gazebo was in the middle of a fenced-in area and Hamlet was playing and rooting around the yard. My mother had asked my cousin what she had for breakfast. The timing of this conversation is the key element here. My cousin shouted over the roar of the lawnmower to make sure Mother could hear her. She was listing the menu and shouted the word “Bacon”. At that instant Hamlet let out a squeal that could be heard all over the neighborhood.

We all instantly ran to see what in the world the problem was. He had rooted up a fire ant bed. He had fire ants all over, inside and out of his snout and mouth. We washed him off, made the paste with the meat tenderizer we had, and slowly brought things to a calm. I rubbed his belly while the tenderizer took out the sting. We did not know then that the word bacon (from that time forward) would bring back the memory of the experience instantly and send Hamlet into squealing hysteria.

A couple days later Hamlet and Idabell were scheduled to have yet another wedding. It was to be held at a senior citizen center not far away. When we arrived, Hamlet and Idabell (the bride and groom) were in harnesses as they made their way around to greet the members of the audience. Also, at that time a woman was being checked into the center by her daughter and a man was being checked in by his kids as well. The woman had refused to say a word to anyone during the enrollment process. The administrator had used all her talents of persuasion trying to get her to respond. Hamlet of course thought they were there to see him so greeted them both with a snort and a wagging tail.

The lady reached down and started rubbing his tummy. He instantly fell to the ground to make it easier for her to get to the whole thing. He loved tummy rubs. Now, you have to understand the woman was in a wheelchair and so was the man. Neither one had said a word to each other. They had been there for a couple hours yet not even a Hello or head nod between them. The man watched the lady scratch Hamlet and slowly rolled his wheelchair over to them. He reached down, joined in the tummy rub, and said, “Aren’t you the cattiest little piece of bacon I’ve ever seen.” Hamlet instantly jumped up and went into total panic mode. He started squealing and running everywhere. The woman took her handbag and bashed the man over the head with it and shouted, “How could you say that to that sweet baby?” Total chaos followed as we chased Hamlet, took away the women’s weapon, and rescued both Hamlet and the poor man.

Later; the man and woman watched the ceremony in total silence with their wheelchairs next to each other. When the snout kiss came they both looked at each other and just said, “Awe.” Apologies followed and a friendship was born. By the time Idabell and Hamlet got to the wedding cake all was forgiven. From that point forward no one ever even whispered the word, “B…” in Hamlet’s presence. Maybe I should have told him he was a pig when he was little, Nah he would not have believed me. He knew he was a star.

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