How the Three Little Pigs Almost Learned to Live with the Big Bad Wolf

How the Three Little Pigs Almost Learned to Live with the Big Bad Wolf

It's story time for all you grownup boys and girls! Gather 'round for the most fucked up fairy tale ever.  This story makes zero sense.

That's the whole point.

How the Three Little Pigs Almost Learned to Live with the Big Bad Wolf

Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. The three little pigs were siblings, albeit from different litters.  In spite of their generational differences, they’d been close all their lives. One of their greatest dreams was to build their own home, so they worked very hard to gather building materials, study construction work, and get all the necessary permits from the officials in their pig village. Before they knew it, they had built their house from the ground up. It was a beautiful, cozy house.  Their parents would have been proud!

One evening in the spring of 2020, the three little pigs ordered pizza and gathered around the TV in their new home. "Before we launch Pigflix, let's see what's happening in the world right now," said Firstborn, the oldest and wisest of the three pigs.  He flipped through the news channels to find anxious humans talking about a new virus that was spreading around the globe.  It sounded bad, but Firstborn Pig wanted to be aware of what was going on in the human world. Firstborn Pig was a doctor and knew that viruses could be passed between humans and pigs, since no species on earth lives in isolation.  Settling into his recliner chair, Firstborn Pig closed his eyes and tried to envision what might happen if something similar happened in the pig world. The thoughts that came to mind were rather scary.

“Okay, that’s enough human news,” said Firstborn Pig.  “Let’s switch to pig news for a bit.”

Baby Pig, the youngest of the trio, obliged by changing the channel.

Unfortunately, the news was just as disturbing for the pig community.  There were reports all over the media about a big bad wolf that had been spotted near their village.  The big bad wolf had been to other villages, blowing houses down and injuring and killing the occupants.  All three of the pig siblings were alarmed by the news.

"This is scary stuff," said Middle Pig, the sandwich generation sibling.  "I don't want that wolf to destroy this beautiful home we’ve worked so hard to build. I don’t want him to break in here and harm any of us.”

"Me neither," said Baby Pig, as tears gathered in his little eyes,  "What should we do to stay safe?  What would humans do in a situation like this?  They’re smarter than us, aren’t they?”

Firstborn and Middle Pig laughed.  “Not at all,” they said to their little brother. “Let’s wait to hear from our village officials.  They’ll know what to do.”

In response to the news of the big bad wolf threat, village officials called on all members of the pig community to immediately build brick exteriors around their houses, and stay inside so that if the wolf tried to breach their homes, pig occupants would be there to defend their property.  Village officials reasoned that if the wolf tried to blow down a few of their houses without success, he would quickly move on and the threat would be eliminated for all.  Every pig in the village agreed this was a great idea, and began building brick exteriors around their homes.  There was a strong sense of community and plenty of hope that together, they could keep each other safe from the wolf. Village officials promised that in the meantime, they’d be working on more sustainable solutions for protecting the village.

It didn’t take long for the big bad wolf to come around.  The protective brick exteriors around the pigs’ homes helped keep much of the village safe.  However,  the wolf was strong and clever, and managed to attack pigs while they were outside of the protection of their homes.  The wolf even found ways to exploit some of the homes where the brick exteriors weren’t very consistent or sturdy in their design. The wolf huffed and puffed and blew some of those houses down, killing many pigs and leaving others injured. Suddenly, every bed in Pig General Hospital was full and all the staff knew the wolf was to blame for most of the patients being there. As an  emergency physician at the hospital, Firstborn saw the devastation every day.  He told his pig community that things were bad and they needed to keep the brick fortresses around their homes strong.  His neighbors listened to him and trusted him.  They called him a hero.

Over the next several months, everyone in the village did their best to adapt to their new circumstances.  Many pigs worked remotely from the safety of their brick-fortified homes.  Piglets attended school virtually, which was often difficult for students, teachers, and parents, but they all did their best to get through the challenging school year.  Essential pig workers went to their jobs everyday, carrying a satchel of bricks with them so they could build a fortress around themselves in case they ran into the big bad wolf along the way.

Winter came and went.  The arrival of spring brought sunshine, longer days, and a reason for all the pigs in the village to celebrate.  The village officials announced they had a solution for all to protect the pigs and their homes…

Homeowners insurance!  Should the big bad wolf come along and damage the brick exterior around the pigs’ homes, homeowners insurance would take care of the repairs, keeping the pigs safe and relieving them of the ongoing burdens of having to stay isolated inside. Government-subsidized policies were made available to all pigs in the village. Many pigs happily accepted the policies, but some pigs were hesitant, preferring to wait and see how the insurance policies worked out for other pigs first.  Some pigs really wanted the homeowners insurance, but because they were renters, they didn’t meet the criteria and were ineligible for protection.

And some pigs just didn’t trust the village officials at all, opting to refuse the policies completely. Although there was inconsistent protection for the homes throughout the village, the officials gave the all-clear.  “You all can come out of your homes, go back to work, go back to school, and stop worrying about the big bad wolf.  You have protection through homeowner’s insurance. If you don’t have insurance, you can still choose to keep your home’s brick exterior for protection.” Filled with joy over this hopeful new turn of events, most pigs throughout the village got their homeowners insurance policies and returned to their normal lives.

The big bad wolf, on the other hand, was even more elated than the pigs were. While everyone's guard was down, the wolf tore through the village, huffing and puffing on their bricked-in homes. In many cases, he was able to cause some damage to the bricks, but would tire and retreat after a while.  The pigs in those homes used their homeowners insurance to repair the damage, and many of them fared well.  Others weren’t as lucky.  Even though some of those pigs had insurance, the sneaky wolf still found ways to damage their homes’ brick exteriors, break in, and maul the occupants.  While many pigs survived with minor injuries, some suffered worse, disabling injuries. And while there weren’t as many deaths as before the insurance policies went into effect, some pigs still perished.

However, village officials and most of the pigs in the community felt like these were acceptable consequences for letting their guard down.  The numbers looked good, and they believed they had the tools they needed to fully resume their way of life before the wolf came to town.  Overall, things seemed better.  Wolf sightings were at an all time low and the attacks were subsiding again.

But the big bad wolf was watching from a distance, studying their homeowners insurance policies and finding loopholes to exploit.  He started doing daily workouts to improve his fitness. He did everything he could to get better at knocking down the pigs’ homes so he could get inside and maul them. He waited until all the pigs were convinced he was gone, then struck again.  This time, he damaged almost every home and mauled nearly every pig in the village.  Pig General Hospital was suddenly overwhelmed once more with injured pigs, but since not as many of them died as in the previous round of wolf attacks, village officials declared it a victory.  “Wolf attacks are now mild,” they said.  “The wolf isn’t going away, but that’s okay, we can learn to live with him. Everyone can now remove the brick exteriors fortifying their homes.  Since the wolf has breached most everyone’s homes, he probably won’t come back and do it again.”

Some pigs in the village thought this was a bad idea.  There were architects and engineers who argued that repeated damage to their homes would be bad news in the long run.  There were also scientists and medical experts like Firstborn Pig, who had witnessed many of the pig injuries and deaths first hand. They argued that leaving pigs vulnerable to repeated attacks by the wolf would have long term consequences. Some pigs listened to them and were thankful for their honesty, but village officials and most of the pigs in the community didn’t want to hear it.  They were committed to a new normal, which involved the ever-present risk of big bad wolf attacks on their homes and their bodies. Throughout the village, pigs gleefully tore down the brick exteriors. Some even started bonfires and burned the bricks.  They were done with bricks forever!  The big bad wolf retreated once again, slowing his visits to the village and watching from a distance.  When he saw that the time was right, he struck again.

“Don’t worry everyone,” village officials told the community.  “We have tools to protect ourselves from the wolf.  We’ll get you all some updated homeowners insurance policies. Rest assured, you do not have to return to draconian measures like bricking your homes in for safety.  Instead, you can arrange a fortress of sticks around your homes, schools, and workplaces for protection.  Chances are the wolf will pass you by if he already got you before.  There is nothing to worry about.  Wolf attacks are mild now.”

But things didn’t seem so mild to the three little pigs.  At Baby Pig’s school, the wolf easily breached the new fortress of sticks around the building and attacked several of the children.  Then he followed Baby Pig home and slipped into the house, where he attacked Middle Pig.  Poor Middle Pig had been the runt of her litter and had always been smaller and weaker than her siblings. As she was ill-equipped to defend herself from the wolf, she sustained severe injuries and ended up in the hospital.  Firstborn Pig’s colleagues stepped up and took amazing care of her during her stay.  After several weeks, Middle Pig was able to return home, but her injuries left her disabled. She could no longer work, nor take care of Baby Pig, nor maneuver around the house with ease.  Middle Pig was bed bound, and the independence she once enjoyed suddenly seemed like a distant memory. Firstborn Pig said it was called Enduring Wolf Injury Syndrome (EWIS), and because it was so new and so poorly understood, there were no therapeutics or treatments for EWIS. He promised his sister he’d do as much research as he could and would try to find help for her.

The three little pigs weren’t enjoying this new normal. Without Middle Pig’s nurturing and guidance, Baby Pig was struggling in school. Firstborn Pig eventually got attacked by the wolf too, leaving him fatigued and foggy-headed after recovering from his initial injuries. Like many of his colleagues at Pig General Hospital, he believed he was suffering from PTSD as well. They had devoted their lives to caring for their fellow pigs, but the devastating wolf attacks and deaths were wearing on their hearts and minds and bodies.  Firstborn Pig wanted to pause his career and focus on caring for his siblings and himself, but it wasn’t an option. He was the only financial provider left in the household so he had to keep working.

Predictably, the big bad wolf retreated for a bit.  It didn’t take long before he returned to strike again.  This time, village officials didn’t even flinch.  “Wolf attacks are mild.  We are no longer dealing with a wolf crisis,” they assured everyone.  “Remember you always have your homeowners insurance policies, although you may or may not be eligible to renew them.  And if you are eligible, you’ll need to pay for them out of pocket this time. It’s all about personal responsibility now, so it’s up to you to assess your individual risk.  You do you.  We are in a better place now and we have tools to deal with the wolf.  We assure you that you do not need bricks or sticks to protect your homes, schools, and workplaces.  If anything, just pad the exterior of the buildings with some straw and you’ll be fine.” The village officials sent 8 bales of straw to each pig household.

The wolf blazed through the village again, huffing and puffing the straw out of the way with ease.  He tore down as many houses as he could, then went after schools and businesses.  He gleefully attacked every pig he could reach, sometimes mauling individuals for the second or third time. Then he retreated once more to plan his next move, find more loopholes, and improve his fitness.

When the wolf returned yet again, village officials welcomed him with great excitement.  They rolled out the red carpet and presented him with a giant key to the village.  “Wolf attacks actually protect us from future wolf attacks, so getting your house knocked down and being mauled by the wolf is a good thing,” they announced to the entire village.  They ceased all reporting of wolf attacks and halted all coverage of the wolf in the media.  They encouraged pigs to bring the wolf to work and school, and were delighted to find that most pigs were happy to embrace the wolf as part of their lives.  They even invited the wolf to parties, dined with him in restaurants, took him on vacations, and carried him to big events like concerts and athletic games. They brought the wolf to meet their grandparents in nursing homes. They took him to daycare centers to play with their little piglets. They were learning to live with the wolf, even if it meant ignoring the fact that their homes were in shambles and their repeat injuries from wolf attacks were starting to cause real problems in their lives.  

The village officials weren't stupid, but they had washed their hooves of the wolf. There was no turning back and there would be no more oppressive brickdowns.  “The wolf is here to stay,” the pigs would say.  And indeed he was, living his best life and thriving in their presence.

Meanwhile, the three little pigs were resisting this bizarre cultural shift in the village.  They were still trying to protect their home.  They kept their brick fortress up, even though their neighbors ostracized them for it.  Middle Pig’s EWIS was worsening.  Baby Pig was struggling in school, finding it hard to focus because his wolf attack injuries were so painful and limiting.

Firstborn Pig was spiraling into despair and felt he had to do something.  He had to at least try to get through to pigs who might listen.  Even though many of his colleagues at the hospital no longer worried about the wolf and considered Firstborn to be extremist in his views, he ignored their criticism and went alone to the town hall meeting.  Firstborn stood before the village officials and fellow community members, pleading with them to reconsider their approach to living with the wolf.  He shared data about worsening outcomes in the pig population and anecdotes about the declining health and safety of his pig patients.  He told them about Middle Pig’s debilitating EWIS, and how his research on the condition revealed that every wolf-inflicted injury increased a pig’s chance of getting EWIS. He told them how his little brother was injured yet again, and had missed so much school that Piglet Protective Services showed up at their door and said they’d take Baby Pig away if he missed any more days of class.

Firstborn told them that as an emergency physician, he was so traumatized he didn’t know how much longer he could effectively serve in his role. He encouraged them to think about what that might mean for the community, considering the village was already facing a growing shortage of healthcare providers.

He told them that living with the wolf was unsustainable, and shared study after study and statement after statement from experts which backed up his bold claim. He made the point that the wolf would slowly disable and kill them all if they continued on this path of denial. The village officials talked among themselves about Firstborn Pig’s input, then swiftly issued new messaging to the entire pig village.  

“You may remove the straw padding around your homes as protection of any kind is no longer needed.  Most pigs will not even need homeowner’s insurance anymore. Schools should also remove straw padding immediately. Straw should be removed from all workplace buildings and any employees who still work from home should return to the office.  Straw should even be removed from all areas outside and inside Pig General Hospital, even in areas where protection was standard before this era of wolf attacks. Wolf attacks are still mild and Enduring Wolf Injury Syndrome is not real.  Any pig who is still concerned about wolf attacks is likely suffering from Wolf Attack Anxiety Syndrome and should see a mental health professional.”

As Firstborn Pig journeyed home on foot, he couldn’t help but notice row after row of damaged, crumbling homes.  He passed by pigs on the street who were behaving erratically and struggling to move about with their new disabilities.  One pig even cursed and screamed at Firstborn, calling him an idiot for being the only one at the town hall meeting who refused to accept that wolf attacks were over. Firstborn ignored the stranger and kept walking, but deep inside, he felt the sting of the pig’s words and questioned his own experiences and memories of the wolf attacks. What if everyone else was right?  How could the other pigs not see all of the devastation he could see so clearly with his own eyes?  And if they could see the same things he could, why had they stopped caring?

When Firstborn arrived home, Baby Pig was waiting at the front door, limping and bleeding from yet another wolf attack at school.  “Middle isn’t doing so well,” said Baby Pig in a hushed voice.  “Can we take her to the hospital?”

“I wish we could, but she won’t be safe there,” said Firstborn. They embraced each other and wept for a long time. “What are we doing?” Firstborn whispered. “How could we let this happen?”

“How could we let WHAT happen?” asked Baby Pig.  

Firstborn felt something tugging at his shoulder.  His eyes flew open to find Baby Pig standing next to him, nudging him awake from his nightmare.  He looked down to find he was safe and sound in his recliner in the living room.  Baby Pig was uninjured.  Middle Pig was sitting across from them on the sofa.  She looked healthy and normal as ever as she flipped through one of Baby Pig’s notebooks, checking his homework.  

Everything was okay.  It had all been a dream.

“How could we let WHAT happen?” Baby Pig demanded once again to know.

“I must have been talking in my sleep,” laughed Firstborn. He proceeded to tell his siblings about the terrible dream he’d had. Baby and Middle were mortified.

“It must have been the news coverage of that new Covid-19 pandemic that put all that doom and gloom in your head,” said Middle.  "We pigs are very intelligent creatures.  We would never let something like that happen to us.  We'll be ok."

"Unlike those human beings,” said Firstborn.  “You gotta admit, they're pretty fucking stupid."