I’ve Got no Strings

 |  July 29, 2011

When I was a lad in short trousers… as opposed to a man who now spends most of his time in short trousers… there was a children’s TV show that featured two pig puppets called ‘Pinky and Perky’. In black and white…yes, it was that long ago…you could see the strings as they moved and they sang in high-pitched, speeded-up voices. To a five year old, really funny and on Sunday evenings before my bath, they were quite a highlight. Since graduating to long trousers, I can’t really remember ever giving them much thought. Until an incident a few days ago.

If would be fair to say that two thirds of the Daring household are not morning people. D2 and I would be quite happy to lie in our respective beds for as long as possible if we had half the chance. However, Mrs. D greets each day with an enthusiasm that I find wholly inappropriate until after my second cup of full-octane coffee and my synapses have actually started to talk to each other. Questions are answered by grunts or monosyllabic words which drives her mad and what happens in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.

In our bathroom, we have one sink.

As far as I am concerned, that means that only one person can use the sink at a time, irrespective of how large the mirror above it is. If I am using it then the next person has to wait until I have finished. So there I was, in my pre-caffeine, half-awake state, brushing my teeth and standing in front of the sink, when in she comes, bright and breezy, and stretches her arms in front of me so that she could wash some mascara brush or something.

I didn’t say anything. Well I couldn’t, I had a mouth full of toothpaste, saliva and toothbrush, the latter whizzing from top to bottom and back again creating a nice lather. In the mirror, I could see her examining the brush and deciding that more water was required. So this time, when she leant in front of me, I emptied the contents of my mouth over her hands.

“Mine!” I grunted.

“You are disgusting” said Mrs. D. as she rinsed her hands. “Why do you have to be so grumpy in the mornings?”

“Why do you have to be so perky?”

“You mean, bouncy, alive, firm and unyielding?” she asked.

“No, like that pig…”

The moment I said it I knew I shouldn’t and the reaction was not good. It was a word too far, even though Perky was a puppet. But my sink time had been violated and I couldn’t help myself. I had to immediately go into recovery mode.

I pointed out that pigs are very social and exhibit a high level of animal intelligence. They have very sensitive noses that are used to find truffles in French forests. Their farms might smell a bit but the aroma of bacon sizzling in a pan in the morning is second to none. I even offered to cook some for breakfast but it was to no avail. Umbrage had been taken.

I actually feel quite sorry for pigs. Few people have a good word to say about them. Yet I was a student once. I know what it is like to live in a sty. And at least I had a choice to get out of it as opposed to swine which spend their lives in as much mud as possible and enjoy it. I can even understand why some religions don’t eat pork. Imagine if you lived in a desert with no fridges or other preservative methods.

By the time evening came, I had apologised a large number of times and normal lines of communication were open again, It was time for some more pig facts such as at any one time, estimates are that there over 2 billion pigs worldwide being farmed. Archaeologists have also found evidence of domesticated pigs in central Asia dating back to 10,000 BC, cross breeding boar to produce the smooth skinned specimen we see today.

“Wild boar?” asked Mrs. D.

“Well, they were livid when they were caught” I replied and having waited many years for an opportunity to use that line, I started giggling. As quick as a flash, Mrs. D used her little finger to flick my ear-lobe.

“What was that?”

“Pinky’s revenge” she said, and she too started to laugh, holding up her little finger and making a snorting sound.

That night, I dreamt that I was a puppet and Mrs. D was my master and pulled my strings. Funny things dreams. They sometimes seem so real.