Scott Hollifield Lee Newspapers
One day, in the not-too-distant future, I expect my unconceived grandson to climb into my lap and say, “Grandpa, tell me about the time you lost a significant amount of hearing in your left ear. ”
And I’ll say, “Boy, take your finger out of your nose, get your old grandpa another one of those IPAs out there, and I’ll enlighten you on this event.”
“I bet it was during the Great Robot War of 2035, when you worked as a correspondent for the merged media conglomerate CNN/FOX News, reporting how humans finally rose up and triumphed over the artificial intelligence that unleashed during President Musk’s reign of terror.” the young man will say.
“No, it wasn’t that, my boy.”
“Then I bet it was during the free-for-all of the 1970s, when you were a kid hitchhiking to all the big rock-and-roll shows and you once stood too near the speaker when Foghat hit the opening notes for ‘Slow Ride’ and after that, for decades, you said ‘what?’ to almost every question someone has asked you. Am I right, Grandpa?
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“No, that wasn’t it, you little brat.” It happened between those. It was a pig calling contest, what made it. And here’s the real story with perhaps a few exaggerated details.”
It was late spring 2022. I was a small-town journalist who wrote humorous columns and raised groundhogs on the side. Those were the good old days before the Great Robot Wars, when gasoline was only $5 a gallon, monkeypox was in its infancy, and President Joe Biden hadn’t been turned into a cyborg.
Our small town had successfully held what many considered the best Bigfoot festival on the East Coast, taking advantage of the supposed mythical creature that would later emerge from the wild, hire an attorney, and sue the town for copyright infringement.
Bigfoot Fun was followed by Livermush Festival or Liver Mush Festival, because no one seemed to know if this hellish but delicious combination of pork liver, pork snout, cornmeal and spices was a word or two. .
Whether it’s liver porridge or liver porridge, pre-Great Robot War people loved it as much as they loved Foghat’s “Slow Ride” in the 1970s.
So there I was among thousands of pork liver lovers, taking notes, taking photos, and shooting videos because I didn’t have enough staff left for anyone else to do it.
The pig calling contest arrives. Four or five people signed up to take the stage between sets of the bluegrass band to give their best hog squeal or pig squeal for a free t-shirt and $25. I thought it would make a great video, maybe even turn me into a YouTube sensation, so I positioned myself in front of the stage, ready to record the festivities.
Unfortunately, I was right next to a speaker that the bluegrass band may have purchased at Foghat’s yard sale. When a woman who claimed to have grown up on a farm in Illinois leaned into the band’s omnidirectional mic and let loose with a scream heard across two state lines, I felt like my left ear had been hit with a ball hammer.
Later in the evening, it was as if I was listening to the world through cotton balls. The next morning, my ear was really hurting. So, little freluquet, that’s how your grandfather lost a good part of the hearing in his left ear. At a golden pig calling contest.
“Wow Grandpa, that was a great story. Want me to get you another one of those IPAs from over there?”
Scott Hollifield is the editor/general manager of The McDowell News in Marion, NC, and a humor columnist. Contact him at [email protected]