Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 3-14-11 |

Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 3-14-11

Thirty years ago I wrote a weekly column called “Swinesong.” I leaned heavily on tongue poked so far in cheek, it looked like I suffered from a bad disease – as you can tell from the following. You’ll no doubt also deduce that our ranch was “diversified.”

“Swinesong,” May, 1979:

Recently, that well-known hit Broadway show, “The Lost Tapioca” played right here in Small Saplings, Mont. Larda Sue Sowsa, reporter for the Small Saplings Toothpick Times, interviewed the talented, yet modest, cast members starting with the leading lady, Ms. Hamah Hocks.

Larda Sue: “How do you feel about your performance, Ms. Hocks?”

Ms. Hamah Hocks: “It’s been a rich and rewarding experience.”

Larda Sue: “How do you prepare yourself for such an emotionally demanding role?”

Ms. Hamah Hocks: “Each day I spend at least 20 minutes squealing and sighing. It’s a drain, but I do it for my art.”

Larda Sue held back an admiring sigh as she turned to leading man, Sir Pork Loin. “Sir Loin, your performance was wonderfully moving and so realistic! How do you do it?”

Sir Loin: “I have been knighted by the Queen of England so I am used to kudos. However I feel the play, ‘The Lost Tapioca’ is a meaningful experience for those who will heed the deep philosophical lessons to be found therein.”

Larda Sue blushed. She wasn’t used to hobnobbing on such a high intellectual plane. Turning to Gilta Rubswine, who had given a stirring performance as an avenger of wrongs, Larda asked: “Miss Rubswine, has ‘The Lost Tapioca’ changed your life in any way?”

“Oh, yes,” said Gilta, “I went right home after the performance and fed my children all the Tapioca they’ll ever need.”

“Show biz,” sighed Larda Sue. She turned to meet two actors, one tall and one short, who had played the villains. “Gentlemen, can you tell me if playing such nefarious characters has affected your life view?”

Short Actor: “Grrrr,” he said and snapped a bullwhip at a passing fly, slicing it neatly in two.

Tall Actor: “I love hateful roles … makes me feel real good … grrr,” he added and ate half the fly.

Larda Sue managed to speak with all the cast members, but it was miss Pigmonda Ribbe who had the most thrilling story of all.

“I never thought I’d ever be an actress,” cooed Miss Ribbe, “but henceforth I am dedicating my life to the theatre. Nothing shall stand in my way.”

Pigmonda Ribbe’s eyes glittered with a burning fever. She trembled.

“Hollywood! Broadway! I shall tread the theatrical boards of the world!”

Larda Sue: “That sounds ambitious. How do you plan to achieve your goal?”

Pigmonda stepped to one side and Larda Sue noted a short chubby fellow wearing a tuxedo and a black eye patch.

Pigmonda: “With the help of my dear, dear agent, my manager, my helpmate, The Loin Ranger!” Pigmonda and Loin gazed fondly into one another’s eyes.

Larda Sue closed her notebook and stole away.

You’ve no doubt deduced that in those days I was influenced by the presence of fine swine. We farrowed sow pigs and sold weaners. I used to name the boar pigs after certain town council members, a couple of bankers and the mayor. But I didn’t tell.

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