Now we had a green pig, but that was not all that had turned green. Besides Jeff’s carpet, the fronts of two dressers, and a door that Wilbur had rubbed against, were now permanently green.
Wilbur had turned into a Denis the Menace with hooves. He was always getting into trouble, and he was always getting yelled at or spanked for something. They say that cats are curious creatures, but they are nothing compared to an overgrown, spoiled rotten, teenage pig. We had to “Wilbur-proof” our entire house by putting brass plates on the bottom of the patio doors, putting latches on cupboard, closet, laundry, and bedroom doors; any place we wanted to try to keep Wilbur out of. Considering that this was the pig that wanted nothing to do with us his first week, we now could not get away from him! He was always underfoot or getting into something he shouldn’t be. But just like that teenage kid you have that you want to hug, and strangle at the same time, we loved Wilbur, and we knew he loved us.
As much as we all loved Wilbur, we were also getting very tired of yelling at him all of the time. I didn’t know it, but Wilbur was also tired of getting yelled at all the time.
One evening after I got home from work, I was sitting on the back patio watching my favorite shows on TIVO, enjoying a cold beer, smoking a cigar, and sipping on a shot of bourbon. The dogs were inside eating their supper, so Wilbur was on the patio with me with the doors shut tight. Wilbur wanted to get inside to help the dogs finish off their suppers, so he was trying to pry the doors open with his big bottom teeth. After yelling at him about five times to leave the doors alone, and to go lie down, I had had enough. He had started trying to open the doors one more time when I stood up and screamed at him “Wilbur you are not going in the house! Go lie down before I wail the shit out of you!” Instead of running away Wilbur spun around and faced me defiantly.
This was it! Father and teenage son squared off in a battle of wills. I was staring at him ready to either attack or defend myself, when I received a telepathic message in my head. “Why are you so mean to me? And why are you always yelling at me?” I immediately relaxed and said out loud in a calm but firm voice to him. “I yell at you because you do not listen to me. You have to understand that I am the boss, and what I say goes. If you will do as I say, I agree not to yell at you any more. Now go lie down and be a good pig.” Wilbur turned and walked to the other side of the patio and laid down.
Now I know that there are plenty of you out there asking yourself, “Just how many beers, and shots did you have Mike?” and to be truthful it was probably a couple of each; but the experience was real to me, and real to Wilbur, because I have not had to yell at him to get him to obey since. Rhea was very skeptical when I told her the story, but she could not account for the fact that Wilbur would listen, and obey me without having to be yelled at.
The next summer on a very hot and humid day, (as they all are here in South Florida) I came out on the patio after work. Wilbur was looking into the house through the door windows. I could see he was agitated and wanted to go inside so I asked him “What’s the matter Wilbur?” He told me in no uncertain terms that he was upset that the dogs got to stay inside the cool air-conditioned house, while he had to stay outside in the heat. I said to him, “Mommy wants you outside because she is afraid you will sneak off and hump the furniture. If you promise to leave the furniture alone, I will let you inside, but if I catch you humping the furniture, I will kick you outside, and you will spend the rest of the night outside.” Wilbur agreed. As I opened the door to let him in, Rhea said, “What are you doing? I want him outside away from the furniture!” I told her that Wilbur was jealous that the dogs get to stay inside in the cool, and that he wasn’t. I also told her that Wilbur promised to leave the furniture alone. She begrudging let him in. Wilbur walked over to an open area of the rug and laid down. He kept his word not to mess with the furniture the rest of that summer.
Now Wilbur does not always communicate with me telepathically; he normally will just grunt his displeasure if I make him do something he doesn’t want to do, just like any kid would; and I think that is cute. He is a little grumpy in the morning when he first wakes up, like most people, and he doesn’t like to be prodded outside to go to the bathroom. He is also a little grumpy when he is tired and wants to go to bed. He often reminds both Rhea, and me of my son Mitchell, who is a bit of a grouch. We think they are both cute.