BackChat: Cocoa

BackChat: Cocoa

She picked the pig up and pointed its bristly snout at me: “Say hello to Grandad,” she said. But the pig just squealed, so she put it down.

BY JOHN COONEY

WHEN I STOP AND THINK about it, I’ve spent most of my life being outvoted by women. My mother started it … my sisters picked up on the habit … my wife perfected it … and my daughter, during her teenage years, turned it into an art-form!

For example? Well, I arrived home from work one day to be greeted at the front door by a pig. 

That’s right, a PIG! 

It was real, live, small and hairy (in that order). It was wearing a little white bonnet plus a red tartan vest. And it had been dressed for the occasion by my daughter. 

Dad, alarmed: “What on earth IS it?” 

Daughter, excited: “It’s Cocoa! She’s a pig. She’s only eight weeks old, and she’s come to live with us. Isn’t she CUTE?” 

Dad, suspicious: “So what’s she doing INSIDE?”

Daughter: “She just wants to say hello!” She picked the pig up and pointed its bristly snout at me: “Say hello to Grandad,” she said. But the pig just squealed, so she put it down.

Dad, threatening: “She’d better not pee on the CARPET!” 

Daughter: “No, Cocoa would never do THAT! She’s a good little girl – aren’t you Cocoa?” Whereupon Cocoa promptly peed on the carpet, and my wife rushed to mop it up.

Dad, seriously stressing: “So what’s Cocoa going to EAT?” 

Daughter: “Whatever WE eat – eh, Mum! She’s allowed three big meals a day.” 

Dad, panicking: “And where’s Cocoa going to SLEEP?”

Daughter: “Outside. In the pig-pen we’re going to build for her …” 

Dad, shouting, neck-veins bulging fit-to-burst: “But what about my LAWN? And the NEIGHBOURS? And the STINK?” 

My wife stepped in at this point, said I’m a grumpy old man, and if I’ve got nothing better to do I can go and hang out the washing. 

So, muttering poisonous threats about pork chops and bacon, I stomped off out to the clothesline with an armload of wet things – including (I discovered five minutes later) a little BIB that Cocoa apparently wore at mealtimes.

Printed on it – can you believe this? – was a picture of a tiny pig, and these touching words: “I Love My Mummy!” 

I came close that day to doing something I had never done before. I nearly called LIFELINE!

AFTER SEEING WHAT COCOA ATE, WHERE SHE ATE IT, AND WHAT SHE DID AFTERWARDS, JOHN (GRAPEVINE’S FOUNDER & PUBLISHER) BECAME A VEGETARIAN!