The Pig on a Leash

9 May

Let me share you two stories about pigs, both involving my dad.

The first one took place when I was maybe twelve or thirteen.  Dad and I went to a Tacoma Giants baseball game on sunny Sunday afternoon.  The Giants were the Triple A farm club for the San Francisco Giants at that time, and they played at Cheney Stadium.  There was some great baseball played in that stadium back in the early 60’s, and my dad and I always enjoyed a trip to the ballpark.

So we arrived at the park, bought a couple hotdogs, and went up the stairs to find our seats.  We were walking down the aisle, I looked up, and I saw a guy walking a pig on a leash down the aisle coming towards us.  This wasn’t a potbellied pig but rather a full-sized monster, probably at least 500 pounds, and he was trailing poop behind him.  My dad and I looked at each other, but we simply couldn’t find any words that seemed appropriate.  We laughed for days about that.

To this day that’s still one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen….the context was just all wrong, you know?  It also serves as a strange reminder for me to always leave my readers with a sense of awe after they read one of my books or stories.  My job, as a fictional writer, is to capture my readers and to touch their senses through my words.  So I thank that guy, and that pig, for the early lesson.


The other “pig-related” item I wanted to mention was an old saying my dad was fond of.  He used to say “you can put a dress on a pig, but you still won’t have a date for the prom.”  It’s been sixty years since I first heard him say that and I still laugh when I think of it.

What’s the point?  What in the world does that have to do with writing?

Now this is just my opinion, and considering the fact that in 1975, a guy by the name of Gary Dahl, sold a whole bunch of pet rocks, maybe my opinion is worthless, but it seems to me that you can dress up a product in a pretty marketing dress, but if that product is crap, you won’t be selling too many of them.

As writers, we are constantly barraged by articles about guerilla marketing, and social media marketing, and how to best market our product . .. but not enough is said about making our product high-quality.  If our writing is poor, we simply will not sell many of our articles or books.

Let’s put a ribbon on this and be done with it:  you should concentrate, first and foremost, on the quality of your writing. In the final analysis, producing a great article, or book, will be the best advertising you will ever do.  Don’t waste too much money, or effort, in sewing a dress for a pig.


Two lessons from pigs, both timely and relevant for writers; I hope you got something out of them.

Have a great week of writing!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

22 Responses to “The Pig on a Leash”

  1. Janine Huldie May 9, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    Both great pig analogies and stories. My grandfather actually always said, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” So, that is what I usually think of when I think of pigs and quote here. But thanks for adding a new one to my list. Plus that pig story at the baseball game, I will not soon forget either! Happy Tuesday 😉

    • Billybuc May 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed, Janine…yep, I’ve heard the lipstick saying…both apply and both are relevant.

      Thanks so much and Happy Tuesday to you.

  2. Linda Lum May 9, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    Two great pig stories, and both of them have me scratching my head and laughing. I wish my dad was here to ask about the pig at Cheney stadium–it was rare that he ever missed a game and I’ll bet he would remember something like that.

    Both good stories and worth remembering.

    • Billybuc May 9, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

      Thanks Linda! I don’t remember if it was part of a had to be, right? whatever it was, it was strange!

  3. Lawrence Hebb May 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    A ‘quote’ from my dad in reply. “Quality always sells itself”
    I’ll just add, “but a little help from us, wouldn’t go amiss!”
    Great stuff

    • Billybuc May 9, 2017 at 5:55 pm #

      Great quote from your dad, one I embrace totally. Thanks Lawrence!

  4. Sageleaf May 10, 2017 at 2:01 am #

    Love your lessons, Big Bro. 🙂 Even they are “dad originals.” And I can think of so many “piggy” expressions…pig in a blanket, little piggie, if pigs had wings, a’int fittin’ to roll with a pig…lol. Context and surprise, good writing and concentration. Yaaaas.

  5. Sageleaf May 10, 2017 at 2:02 am #

    That should be, “even if they are dad originals.” 😛

    • Billybuc May 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      Who in the world would want to roll with a pig, Lil Sis? LOL I’ve heard it to but can’t imagine it. I’ve raised them before and any animal that loves rolling in poop is not an animal for me. 🙂 Hugs from Oly

  6. ericdierker May 11, 2017 at 3:28 am #

    So I admit from far in my humility that my first wife dated Dahl, or in those days did they just hang out. Mine was a story of the pig who worked well for a contractor as a carpenter and then just started showing up late. The response to the reprimand was “what is time to a pig”.
    I reckon that those of us with a work ethic just do not get pigs and if my children do then they are severely corrected.

    • Billybuc May 11, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      Great story, Eric, and the lesson is right on. I love animals but pigs really push my patience. 🙂

  7. Sarah Potter Writes May 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    My great uncle was a “gentleman” pig farmer. Whether the gentleman bit, meant that he got others to walk his pigs and shovel up the poop, I don’t know! Just thought I’d tell you that 😉
    Anyway, I loved the pig analogies and what your father said. He sound as if he was both wise and humorous, and taught you many great lessons.
    My husband asked me today why I was wasting time changing my book cover, as it probably wouldn’t make any difference to my sales. He said that my time would be better spent getting on with something else. (Ouch! He can be so blunt at times). I told him that if I didn’t try, I would never know.

    • Billybuc May 11, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

      Well, Sarah, I hate to say this . . . no, I won’t say it. I’ll simply say I hope you never give up your writing. It would sadden me greatly if you did. Don’t you dare!

      • Sarah Potter Writes May 12, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

        Okay, I’ve been a long time at it (about 26 years seriously, with a few breaks in between), but I promise to persevere. Hopefully, each thing I write is better than the last, so hopefully one day I’ll strike lucky. Thank you Bill, my dear friend, for your huge amount of support and encouragement 🙂

  8. Billybuc May 12, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    A mentor of mine once told me, Sarah, not to give up a day before the miracle happens….that is my message to you today, my friend. The world needs poets. You and others like you are the soul and conscience of our generation, and I truly believe that.

  9. Christy B May 14, 2017 at 8:11 pm #

    At first I was like, why’s Bill talking about pigs and dresses? Hehe 😉 I knew you’d have a good lesson to learn and so you did. Quality is King Pig, right! HUGS for you ♥

    • Billybuc May 15, 2017 at 1:52 am #

      Christy, I don’t blame you for questioning my sanity with the pig story. LOL Thanks for having faith in me. Hugs from rainy, chilly Olympia.

  10. phoenix2327 May 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

    This reminds me of the ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ comic strip. In one storyline, Calvin, the boy, slaps together a school report on bats which he based on one ‘fact’ that he had made up. He assures his stuffed pet tiger, Hobbes, (who only came to life when no one else is around) that his report was sure to get an A+ as he had put the report in a clear, plastic folder. (Teachers go nuts for that, apparently.) No one was more surprised than he when the report came back with an ‘F’ grade.

    I should go out to the garage and dig out those old books. I’d forgotten how amusing they are.

    • Billybuc May 17, 2017 at 11:47 pm #

      Zulma, I loved Calvin and Hobbes. I’m going to have to go buy one now that you mentioned it. And I was a teacher and a plastic folder didn’t fool me for a moment…like putting a dress on a pig. LOL

      • phoenix2327 May 19, 2017 at 10:32 pm #

        Poor piggies. They’re getting such a bad reputation here. 🙂

      • Billybuc May 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

        They just can’t catch a break,can they, Zulma? LOL

  11. Shauna L Bowling June 12, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

    Great stories and great lessons learned, Bill. I think I would have had a (laughing) cow if I saw that pig pooping his was down the aisle!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: