A Porcine Fable
By Patrick F. Cannon
The old gentleman didn’t need an alarm clock. His inner clock told him it was 5:30 am, and he came awake. As usual, he could hear his wife puttering in the kitchen. When he finished showering, shaving and dressing, the coffee and juice would be next to the granola on the kitchen table. The radio would be tuned to the local all-news station, so he could get the latest weather and traffic reports before leaving for the office.
In the adjoining bathroom, he turned on the shower – all the settings preselected – and removed his pajamas. He couldn’t help but notice an unpleasant odor. He sniffed his pajamas, but they seemed OK. Even after his shower, the odor persisted, and it occurred to him that it might be a plumbing problem. He must remember to ask his wife to call a plumber to check and clean the drains.
The odor lingered as he got dressed. He chose his usual conservative tie, then carried his suit jacket with him to the kitchen and hung it on the back of a chair. His wife was at the table, eating some fresh fruit and reading the Washington Post. He never read the papers at breakfast, not wishing to start the day in a bad mood.
“Elaine, do you smell something?,” he asked his wife.
“Now that you mention it, I do”.
“I think it might be the plumbing – who knows, maybe some critter died in the pipes or there’s a clog. In any event, could you call the plumber?”
“Of course. I think there’s someone there by 8:00; I’ll call then.”
After he finished eating, and drank his second cup of coffee, he returned to the bathroom to do the needful and brush his teeth. When he was done, he fetched his suit coat and briefcase, kissed his wife goodbye and left the house. His car and driver were waiting at the curb. The driver opened the back door, and said “good morning, sir.”
“Good morning, Joe”. He settled in the back seat and checked his cell phone for messages. Nothing urgent, so he punched his office number. “Irene? I’m on my way – traffic’s not too bad, so I should be there in about 20 minutes. Anything up? Good. See you soon.”
Strangely, the smell seemed to have persisted. Maybe it’s the sewers, not his plumbing. Not unheard of in this city. “Joe, do you smell something funny?”
“You know, I do. Maybe it’s something in the car?”
“No, I smelled it at home too. I think it might be something from the sewers, but it sure is annoying.”
When he arrived at his office, the staff was already busy. He said a general “good morning” and entered his private office suite. His secretary looked up and smiled. Then a strange look came on her face – she seemed to be sniffing the air. “What’s wrong?,” he asked.
“I don’t know. All of a sudden, there’s a strange smell that wasn’t here before. Kind of like a barnyard.”
Senator McConnell’s jaws dropped with the sudden realization that the odor might be emanating from him, that it had followed and hung about him from the moment he had gotten up. He sniffed his hand and the smell got worse!
Moral: When you spend too much time in the pig pen, eventually the smell becomes permanent.
Copyright 2019, Patrick F. Cannon