Not too long back my wife and I went on a road trip. We happened to stop at an Idaho gas station. This gas station is what people might describe as “out in the boonies,” but I’m not sure Idaho has boonies, whatever they may be.
The service at this gas station, single-handedly performed by a young, tattooed and suntanned man with a belt buckle the size of a dinner plate, was excellent. The people were friendly too, but looked a little startled, like they came out from rustling in the sagebrush and were surprised to suddenly find civilization. To mark the occasion of “running to town,” they tucked their t-shirts in, put on socks and looked a little uncomfortable.
I noticed all this while I waited for my wife, who was in the bathroom. I wandered around the store long enough to peruse their “tourist section,” which had its usual round of shot glasses, made in China, but proudly displaying “Idaho” all over them. Nothing says you’ve been to Idaho like owning a shot glass that’s also been to Idaho.
But the tourist section did not stop at shot glasses. One of the items prominently on display was a pig, carved out of soap stone. The body of the pig was cut into a lattice, with plenty of holes so you could see inside the pig, and inside the pig was another, smaller pig, hand carved through the holes in the first.
There are few things that can inspire amazement and disgust at the same time. This pig was one of those things. It begged all sorts of questions. Was the pig pregnant? Did it eat the smaller pig whole? Would anybody actually buy this?
I found the answer to that last question while searching for a picture of the pig. I found a picture of it on the website eBay, but it was already sold. Somebody out there wanted that pig so badly they would pay $2.99 for it, plus $6 shipping. And to think we have one here in Idaho!
There were also other animals, with smaller animals inside them. I found an elephant and an owl. A pig, an elephant, and an owl walk into a gas station sounds like the start of a joke, but I don’t know what the punch line might be.
I’m also not sure just how you would display this knick knack. Put it on the mantle? Give it to a friend? Give it to a pregnant friend? I can hear what my pregnant friends would say: “What, are you trying to say that I’m a pig, with a little pig inside of me?” So don’t give it to any pregnant friends.
Of course, the real solution is to not buy it. In fact, the secret to good taste might be to never buy things in the tourist section of gas stations. Unless you need a belt buckle to impress your gas station friends.
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