Friday, June 10, 2011

Singing Pigs

By Julie Rahm

There are over 8,800,000 pigs in North Carolina making pig farming one of the top economic activities in the State. Economists and politicians pay close attention to the welfare of the State’s pig farming. Even though there are few pigs here in Pamlico County, residents still expend a lot of effort on “pigs”. Unfortunately, the effort expended is a waste of time. You see, some residents expend a lot of effort trying to teach “pigs” to sing. They just don’t know or haven’t learned; “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing. It is a waste of time and it annoys the pig.” “Pigs” are stubborn. They will not change their point of view. You will not get them to sing the words you want to hear. Despite your best efforts at a rational argument, a “pig” will just go on believing what he wants to. No matter what you say, the “pig” will not come around to your point of view. Trying to convince the pig to some other view will simply be annoying.

Admittedly, it is difficult to prevent yourself from trying to teach a pig to sing. It takes a lot of mental discipline to refrain. Often, the conversation is well underway when you find yourself pitted against an unreasonable and unchangeable point of view. It takes a measure of mental toughness to leave a person alone with his own faulty opinion. And, it is often hard to extract yourself from a dialogue that has turned distasteful. My husband has mastered the art of abruptly leaving a conversation. John simply announces very loudly, publicly and without embarrassment, “Holy cow, I’ve got to go to the bathroom!” I’ve seen him do this numerous times. After his proclamation, all talking will stop and he simply walks away. Even an unyielding and argumentative person will release you from the discussion. This is the best technique I’ve seen to leave a conversation! Anyone with an ounce of compassion will not detain someone who needs a trip to the bathroom, especially if the need is forcefully vocalized.

So, don’t try to teach a pig a sing. It is a waste of time and it annoys the pig. And, if you find yourself in just that situation, stop and spare yourself the frustration. Recognition can be the key. My metaphorical tools can help. If, during a conversation, you feel your emotional level begin to tilt, break out the metaphorical flashlight and examine the dynamics of the conversation. Use the pliers to puck out the urge to be right and use the hammer to build some emotional resilience. Lastly, the measuring tape can help you get some distance between you that that adversarial opinion. And, as a last resort, you can always announce your way to the bathroom!

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