Tom Clyde: When pigs fly, it’s fender-licking good | ParkRecord.com
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Tom Clyde: When pigs fly, it’s fender-licking good

I haven’t been able to score a reservation to ski at Park City Mountain Resort yet this year. I’ve got the website pretty well figured out, and with something like 14 mouse clicks, I can get to the end of the reservation process. But unless you are willing to spend the entire day hovering over the computer waiting to pounce on a cancellation, it’s proving very hard to get a reservation. There isn’t much of the mountain open. When the next block of dates became available, without any new snow to expand the number of slots, it took the speed of somebody who spends 20 hours a day playing Grand Theft Auto to get on the mountain. Since nobody is making a full day of the few open runs, there ought to be a way to let people on as others leave. But it doesn’t work that way because, in our plague-dominated world, nothing quite works.

So instead of skiing, I’ve been watching important news. Officials in Jasper, Alberta, have started an educational campaign telling motorists, “Don’t let moose lick your car.” It turns out that it has become a “thing” in Canada to let moose lick the road salt off cars. Apparently the good people of Jasper head out to Tim Hortons for a doughnut and coffee, and then drive out on one of the many scenic roads from Jasper. While enjoying their morning coffee, they park along the side of the road. The moose come out of the woods and lick the salt off the side of the cars. A good time is had by all, eh?

Wildlife officials are concerned that the moose, dumb as they are, have begun to associate cars with salt. Moose crave salt this time of year, and it’s hard to get. So the moose are eager to lick down the cars, as well as the shoulder of the highway. That kind of interaction between moose and cars doesn’t end well. The moose have begun to stand around, blocking the highways, waiting for a salt-crusted, classic Fargo to come along. People getting out of their cars to photograph the fender-licking also are at risk of getting hit by other cars or stomped by an ungrateful moose. So, you know, just enjoy the wildlife without teaching them to play in the traffic.



The fender licking isn’t uniquely Canadian. Many years ago, an old, one-eyed cow moose decided my plowed driveway was a perfect spot to spend the winter. I had to throw rocks at her to get the car out of the garage. She finally got fed up with my lack of hospitality and moved up the street to my aunt and uncle’s house. They parked their car in a shed that didn’t have a garage door on it. The moose went after the salt on the back of their new Lincoln with enthusiasm. It looked like somebody had taken a belt sander to the paint. So in addition to not wanting to teach the moose to play in traffic, having a moose licking your car isn’t great for the clear-coat, either.

It turns out that it has become a ‘thing’ in Canada to let moose lick the road salt off cars.”

Moose weren’t the only animals in the news. There were numerous reports that U.S. airlines have been able to improve their bottom line by serving a new class of customers. The normal business and leisure travelers have all stayed on the ground. To fill all those empty planes, some airlines have started flying farm animals around the world. The expression “when pigs fly” has apparently lost its meaning, along with “solid as Sears.” Pigs are now routinely flying around the world, usually in the middle seat.



Aside from concerns about discovering that the passenger who used the restroom before you was an actual swine, the first question I had was, where do pigs go, and why? What sort of business might a pig have that would cause it to board a plane and fly around the world?

Well, it turns out, according to no less an authority than the “Irish Farmers Journal,” calves from Ireland will be flying to Europe early next year. They are flying because there are concerns that normal transportation systems will be disrupted by Brexit. They can’t have boatloads of calves backed up at European ports that don’t have facilities to handle them. You think normal airports are pigsties, wait until you see a planeload of Irish calves hanging out at the Cinnabon.

And prestigious “Pig” magazine (a real publication with a circulation several times The Park Record’s) reports that the St. Louis airport now has a complete and efficient livestock shipping facility. Now, Midwestern hogs can fly to Brazil and even China. Transporting livestock over that kind of distance by ship would be very difficult on the animals. But when they can board a plane, the flight from St. Louis to San Paulo is an easy trip.

There is no word on whether the livestock try to lick the de-icing off the wings of the planes.

Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.


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