This is Kipper. He is not a kipper. He is a dog.
This is Tiger. He is not a tiger. He is also a dog.
This is Pig. He is a pig.
And this is Pig’s cousin. His name is Arnold.
Exactly how few fucks could Pig’s parents have been giving when they chose his name? From recent experience I know choosing your child’s name can be a little fraught. I even, on one occasion, may have said words to the effect of, ‘Balls to it. If it’s a boy we’ll call it Boy, and if it’s a girl, Girl. If you don’t like those options then we’ll just have to call it The Child.’ I was, however, NOT BEING SERIOUS.
Maybe Pig’s parents got all passive aggressive about it and they argued themselves into a corner neither could back out of without losing face.
- “Well, if you’re not going to take it seriously, we may as well not bother.”
- “I am taking it seriously, but we’ve been having this discussion for fucking months now.”
- “Really? Well that’s just fine then. ‘Pig’ it is”
- “Wait, look, I wasn’t…”
- “No. You said you were serious. It’s Pig.”
- “Well, fine then. Pig”
- “OK then.”
- “Pig it is.”
- “Yes. Pig.”
Or maybe I’m doing them a massive disservice. Maybe all pigs are called ‘Pig’, and it’s Pig’s aunt and uncle who are the weird ones, choosing to fly in the face of centuries of porcine naming tradition by choosing a dangerously non-conformist moniker for their child.
That’s it. Clearly ‘Arnold’ is the piggy equivalent of ‘Apple’, ‘Fifi Trixabelle’, or ‘Moon Unit’. Arnold’s parents were hippy rock-stars who held almost cult-like status amongst their fans but were openly mocked by wider swine society for the fantastical and idiotic names they chose for their offspring: ‘Arnold’, ‘Christopher’, and ‘Susan’. These children were constantly hounded by the pig paparazzi and pitied by the masses for their unnatural names and lifestyle; a pity which redoubled when their parents both died in the space of a week - the father in a plane crash caused by the pilot (a fellow band member) being smashed off his face on cocaine, and their mother after she took a foolhardy combination of booze and pills and choked on her own vomit in a nightclub toilet cubicle.
Arnold, then, is a tragic orphan; cast out into the cruel world and on to his cousin’s tender mercies like some wretched Dickensian gutter-urchin.
Still, at least he’s got a better name than ‘Pig’.