Chitlins And The Fiscal Cliff

You might well be asking yourself what cooked hog intestines and Washington have in common other than they both start out full of shite. Bear with me and as I shall relate to you a story from my youth as a poor black child in Mississippi.

[Can you imagine this movie being made today? I can’t.]

Reading Joe’s post on the “I’ll tax you today for a spending cut on Tuesday” nature of the fiscal cliff farce, it brought to mind something that I learned in childhood about how when you ignore things that you find unpleasant, they tend to multiply until something has to be done.

For those of you not native to the rural South, one of the things that was sort of a rite of passage on our family farm when it got cold in the fall was the annual hog killin’. We raised all sort of farm animals and crops for food and for income and like harvesting corn, cutting hay or putting up vegetables, the hog killin’ was on a regular time scale – curing ham and bacon requires that it be cold enough for the meat not to spoil as it took up the salt or sugar based cure – but not so cold as to freeze the meat – so in northern Mississippi, that meant that it had to be done in the late Fall, usually after the first hard frost.

Over the years, I graduated from hide scraper, to scalder (we dipped the hog in a big vat of scalding water – which had to be just below a boil (if it was boiling, it would set the hair in the hide and you could never get it off), to trimming meat, cranking the handle on the sausage mill and/or cooking out the lard and eventually to being allowed to actually butcher the hog and cut the meat – once you got to that point you were also the one who usually took the pistol, loaded with .22 shorts and committed the act that cascaded into all the rest.

As every step of the process evolved, there were certain rites of passage – one of which consisted of eating your first (and in my case, last) mess of chitlins.

A chitlin is a section of hog intestine that has been stripped (cleaned of the contents), boiled and served up hot and steaming. Sort of a porcine calamari, now that I think about it.

This fiscal cliff/big government thing is a lot like my one experience with eating chitlins. When you pop it in your mouth, the longer you chew, the bigger it seems to get. It seems that it eventually swells enough to fill your entire mouth and even though you don’t want to swallow it because you have started thinking about what it is – your jaws are starting to ache from chewing the damn thing and you finally just brace yourself for the inevitable and swallow because there’s really nothing else you can do with it if you want to graduate.

That’s what all this tax first/cut later bullshit is about. It is a big bowl of chitlins that Obama is serving up. It is getting bigger and bigger with every chew and his expectation is that the Republicans are going to be too embarrassed to spit it out and just swallow it whole.

I hope they have the fortitude and core values to spit it out.

If they don’t, it is back to scraping hides for all of us.

18 thoughts on “Chitlins And The Fiscal Cliff

  1. Hmmmm, I remember a few pigs on dairy farms in Minnesota, but chitlins were never discussed or eaten. We drank a lot of warm milk though…straight from the cow!

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