Monday is July 4, and that can mean only one thing:
It's time to toss a pig.
Yep, time to grab the ol' porker and give it the heave-ho, to lob that lard as far as it will go. (Hey - I've just written a country song!)
Columbia County's annual Independence Day celebration at Patriots Park is Monday, and again this year it includes the ever-popular pig-tossing contest. It's important to note that no real pigs will be harmed in this contest: Only plastic porkers are pitched.
That has to be pointed out, though, because last year a woman from Aiken heard about the contest and went off the deep end. She accused the county "in writing" (boy, that always makes 'em shiver) that the contest "violates animal cruelty laws ... and must be cancelled."
The problem (other than the fact that she has way too much time on her hands): the would-be do-gooder never bothered to ask if the pig-throwing contest uses real pigs. She just assumed that it did. And we all know what happens when you "assume," except in this case it only made an ass out of her.
What's the woman's name? Ah, go look it up. She had her 15 minutes of fame when I talked about her last year, after which she decided to threaten me with a lawyer (who happens to be her brother, and who conveniently lives in California and not Aiken).
It turns out my lawyer can beat up her lawyer, though, since keeping a good attorney is the key here at Ridicule Central to avoid going into the courtroom as a defendant. (And we have been wildly successful, I might add - though I'd like to have a buck for every knothead who's threatened to sue us. I'd have enough money to, well, pay our lawyers for keeping us out of trouble.)
In the end, Aiken's Great Defender of Pigs got all whiny and indignant that I had fun in the paper at her expense. In a flood of e-mail diatribes, she lavishly disparaged the South, saying she had moved here from "civilization" (California) because of cheap housing, and assumed (again) that I'm surrounded by "local moronic bubbas."
She even called me an "idiotic, unprofessional pinhead." But rather than just stay mad, she tried to get even: She signed me up for the e-mail lists of every animal-rights group she could find.
Within days of receiving her first miffed correspondence, I started getting messages about saving whales and protecting puppies. Lots of e-mails, most of them focusing on some anti-animal-cruelty activism (a sharp contrast to my usual list of pro-animal-cruelty mailing lists, I suppose).
Sadly for Aiken's Champion of Plastic Porkers, most of the sites requested confirmation before adding my address to their list, so the e-mails dried up quickly. The rest I simply blocked.
So without the cruelty free influence of all those tofu-munching vegetarians, my conscience is free to thoroughly enjoy cooking a real pig on July 4 along with some fellow "bubbas."
If you're not inclined to toss a dead pig on the coals, you can go out to Goodale Park on Wrightsboro Road in Grovetown at lunchtime where Mayor Dennis Trudeau and the city council will feed you real barbecue, for free, in honor of our nation's birthday. This is true patriotism, folks.
Later, if you're in the mood to express your barbecue-fueled American freedoms by tossing a fake pig, head out to Patriots Park in the afternoon for the pig-throwing contest and other festivities, followed at dusk by what promises to be the county's biggest fireworks show ever.
And with every forkful of tasty pork, with each toss of the rubber pig, celebrate the birthday of the greatest nation on Earth - a country where pig-tossers, and the pig-headed, can live together in harmony.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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