Sloppin’ The Hogs
James R. Aist
This episode happened when I was a Junior at Springdale (Arkansas) High School and a member of the Student Council. We were charged with the task of discussing current issues affecting the student body and making recommendations to the school administration on behalf of the students. A new member of the Student Council, let’s call him “Ricky”, was a well-respected, if a bit naïve, Sophomore growing up on a farm located in an outlying area of our Consolidated School District. Now, Ricky typically didn’t say much, but when he did it was straight and to the point, often with an element of country wisdom and flavor.
The year was 1961, the early days of the “mini-skirt.” These articles of female apparel were getting shorter and shorter, prompting some of the parents to press the school administration to come up with a new dress code that would prevent this trend from going too far…up. So, one day the Student Council was discussing just how short we reckoned the skirts should be allowed to get, while trying to strike a delicate balance between personal liberties and raging hormones.
About 15-20 minutes into the discussion, arguments both for and against shorter skirts had been batted around without any clear consensus. Just when it seemed that we were not going to be able to agree on just how much farther above the knee the skirts should be allowed to drift, Ricky just couldn’t hold back any longer and rose to speak to the issue. “If we let the mini-skirts get any shorter”, he said, “that’ll be like sloppin’ the hogs, and then telling ’em not to eat!”
Well, after a short pause to let his argument sink in, there was a brief outburst of spontaneous laughter that changed the atmosphere of the discussion altogether, as you might imagine. We weren’t so much laughing at Ricky as at the quaint, powerful, and humorous country metaphor he had come up with to get his point across. I don’t remember what we recommended to the administration, but I’ll never forget the wisdom that was wrapped up in such a simple, but effective, illustration that only an Arkansas farm boy could have come up with.
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