Police the Pig
Friday, November 5 2004
I have two regular clients on either side of Eagle's Nest road about half way up. One is Larry at the House of Stank. He has made his ramshackled hovel into a quirky and tasteful permabachelor's pad stuffed with expensive furnishings. On the other side of the street is a woman living alone with a vicious semi-feral German Shepherd in an equally quirky house built by her father, who was an inventor and gadget freak back before the invention of the transistor. It's the only house I know of with a full-feature elevator.
Today I visited both houses, first to the house with the elevator to unsuccessfully install the internal control system we all take for granted in our toilets. Then at the House of Stank I installed a light switch in an upstairs room. The walls there are made out of a board comprised, it seems, of loosely-compressed sawdust. I'm familiar with this material as a cheap alternative to drywall; it's what the walls were made of in the haphazardly-built house in which I grew up. When I went to cut through it with my sharp-tipped drywall saw, it slipped through it completely without argument, as if it was warm butter.
This evening Gretchen and I went over to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary to attend a small dinner party being thrown by Kathy, the CAS director, in her doublewide trailer on premises. Kathy has a new boyfriend (in Hawaii at the time) who is something of a handyman, and he'd resurfaced most of the doublewide's floors with rustic old oak planks salvaged from a pile of scrap in the back. It was a huge improvement, though some of them were warped up high enough to trip someone walking across them in a hurry. They also clashed with the cloying wallpaper that comes with this particular doublewide model, but I'm sure its days are numbered.
Since the people coming over were all hardcore animal rights fanatics, the meal was strictly vegan. I'm rarely impressed by vegan food, but as long as there's wine the meal will always be somewhat enjoyable. I don't know what I do if wine wasn't vegan.
In addition to Kathy, Gretchen, and me, there were three other people. One of these, Jen, recently started her own farm animal sanctuary in nearby Woodstock. From a logistical standpoint, it makes no sense for there to be two animal sanctuaries in close proximity competing for donations while not pooling administrative expenses, but Kathy seems perfectly gracious about it. Jen lost the lower part of her right leg from childhood cancer and regaled us with several amusing stories about life with a below-the-knee prosthesis. One was particularly improbable and came from her high school cheerleading days. Apparently she figured out how to conceal the junction between her very realistic prosthesis and her stump using a then-fashionable leg warmer, but when she did a cartwheel, well, you can imagine what happened. It sounded too much like a scene from a Farrelly Brothers movie to be true.
Later we all went out to the barn to socialize with the rescued farm animals. In one stall there were three huge pigs, the kind that usually end up as hams, bacon, and footballs. I don't know how big they were, but I'm guessing 800 pounds at the minimum. Kathy went right up to Police, the biggest one, and lay down next to him. He seemed like he might be dozing, but he was just relaxing (without the benefit of televison). Kathy rubbed him on his square yard of belly and he stretched his legs and moaned like an old hound dog. I've heard too many horror stories about pigs eating humans to not be impressed by how trusting she was being; his head was ten times the size of hers, and he had four inch long tusks protruding from his mouth. But she insisted he wasn't the slightest bit dangerous. So I climbed in and petted him too. The hair on his back was so coarse that it was like petting a hay bail, the kind that leaves your hands a little greasy.
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