Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pig Wrestling

By Julie Rahm


Pig farming is an important commercial activity here in North Carolina. Our state is a leading producer of pigs with sales topping $3 billion every year. In North Carolina, there are 9,535,483 people and 8,800,000 pigs; almost a pig for every person! But, there are no pigs in the Town of Oriental. And yet, pig wrestling is fast becoming one of the most popular sports in town. I see pig wrestling everyday. How can there be pig wrestling without pigs? The answer is simple. Pig wrestling occurs when, during a conversation, a person tries to muddy another. My husband, John taught me about pig wrestling 17 years ago following our first meeting and coincidental first argument. “Never wrestle with a pig. The pig likes it and you get muddy,” he said with a Cheshire cat grin. The only person who likes “pig” wrestling is the “pig”. The “pig” lures you into the mud pit with an opinion you can’t resist challenging. Once in the discussion mud pit, the wrestling begins. Mud flies. There is no way the “pig” will ever change his opinion. He is not interested in hearing other points of view. He doesn’t care about the facts. His view is not intellectual. His joy is in raising your level of frustration. He gets satisfaction by seeing the energy you’re wasting. And, in the end, you’re muddy trying to convince the “pig” he is wrong.

As a small example, I recall a leash law conversation at The Bean. In Oriental, few topics evoke more emotion than a leash law for dogs. The emotion makes leash laws a great topic to bait someone into the mud pit. And, sure enough, one morning at The Bean there was a highly charged conversation when a “pig”, looking for a mud wrestling opponent, proclaimed there needs to be leash law in Oriental. Someone took the bait. And, during the conversation, they got muddy and the “pig” liked it. Nobody’s viewpoint was changed. Only the “pig” got satisfaction. If you really want to see pig wrestling in action, attend a town council meeting. “Pigs” are drawn to this forum and use the venue as a mud wrestling arena. Everyone gets muddy. The “pigs” like it.

The solution when faced with a “pig” is to remain steady. My metaphorical tools help. Use the level to sense when your emotional balance begins to tilt. Shine the flashlight to reveal the motive of the “pig”. Use the pliers to pull out your argumentative thoughts. Remain calm and allow the “pig” to be. Use the utility knife to cut any emotional ties to the subject. Hammer in the framework for dealing with a mud-wrestling “pig” and enjoy your new found fortitude to remain outside the mud wrestling area of ridiculous opinion.

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