When Pigs Fly-Or When Rats Sing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Madoline Thurn / Guest columnist

Where did the expression “When pigs fly” come from? I guess it means that something is just so-o-o- preposterous. Well, anyway now they’re doing some more research on rats. Wow! Why do people that do research like to study rats, of all things? Why not chickens? If researchers want to find out how something will affect humans, they try it on rats. Why? Is the linkage similar, or something? Maybe that’s why we accuse a fellow human, “You rat! You dirty rat!”

Well, anyway they’re finding evidence that rats can sing. Wow! Anyway these researchers are eavesdropping on these squeaking rats and they have surmised that they are serenading female rats. Another wow! And they’ve moved male rats into the category of insects and whales and birds that sing to females.

Email newsletter signup

You know one thing odd about these researchers-they didn’t list male humans that sing to their prospective mates. And they do. Or they used to, anyway. We would stroll dreamily along a lazy country road, holding hands-I suppose it was equivalent to the old-timey promenade. And the young man would sing. It was so precious.

And the songs were more romantic back then, don’t you think? “Oo, ee, oo, ah, ah, ting, tang, poly wally, bing bang.” Or something like that. Or, Ah weem away, ah weem away, the tiger sleeps tonight”-or “walks tonight,” or something. And we ‘courted.’ The old people liked to tease us and call it ‘sparking.’

Young people don’t stroll these days. And they don’t serenade. They just pop a CD into the car player, and turn up the volume as loud as it will go. Maybe they do that so we old folks can’t tease them about ‘courting.’

And now somebody-it didn’t say it was a researcher-has brought in a parrot to serenade the senators! And yet another wow! It was a yellow-naped parrot. Was the color significant?

The parrot sang “How much is that doggie in the window?” At least one senator was not happy with this presentation. Maybe he, speaking for the senate, thought this was an innuendo about pay-offs, or bribery, or pork, or something. The senators are probably pondering, what next, warbling rodents?

Anyway, a singing parrot is not the same thing as a stool pigeon, is it?