I decided I should raise a couple of pigs this year, my garden needs a rest while I get the quack grass out, and I could put the pigs in a pen down where the field is growing back to brush, they will clean it out and grub it up and make it into a pretty good potato patch for me. Have to get pigs in pairs, one pig gets so lonesome he turns into a pet, or a nuisance.  Used to be guys raising newly-weaned little pigs (weaners) for guys like me as a business, but I guess the Marketing Board has shut that down.

Apparently my two-animal hog enterprise would be a huge risk to the multi-thousand hog corporate mega barns they favor.  Finally I managed to find a guy in Manitoba who would supply me a couple of bootleg weaners, and Joe went with me to pick them up and smuggle them home.

Along the way I remarked “did you hear about Emma, Jack Brown’s wife down on the third concession? Seems she has cancer, they’re not sure yet whether it is breast cancer or lymphoma.  Seems like we are losing a lot of our women to cancer these days.”  Joe went quiet for a minute, then he asked “how old is she?”  “Oh, I guess pushing seventy” from me.

More hesitation. “OK, that’s the right age.  I blame this on the hippies, like most of the problems of our country.  Their new morality, let’s all live together in communes, stoned on grass, with free promiscuous love all over the place.  Anyway, they had a big problem, and that was all those pesky pregnancies.  Along with that came the hippy position that there are too many people in the world. So the government rushed through approval of the Birth Control pill .   I butted in “no doubt with pressure from the drug companies, anxious for the cash bonanza a pill would bring!”

“Agreed”, said Joe, “it’s amazing what a few zillion dollars of patronage will buy. Anyway, my sister-in-law is a nurse, and she says it is common knowledge in the medical business that women who took those early birth control pills are very likely to get cancer later in life.  She says especially Non-Hodkins Lymphoma, historically it is quite rare, kills about 3 people in a thousand, but in women of that age it is more like 300 in a thousand.  Maybe cancer eventually gets all of them who took those pills in the early 60’s.  She says it is a huge scandal, but anybody who talks about it is in big trouble.”

I thought for a minute. “So maybe the pathetic media storm and overkill about ddt, and asbestos, and PCB, and mercury, and dioxin, is all about drawing attention away from this huge blunder?”  “Could be”, from Joe, “from the little we know, this might be the biggest tragedy of the 20th century, and nobody even talks about it”

“And probably won’t, while the hippies run the world”, from me. “So in our generation, the men all died young from heart condition, and there are more women than men left. But now that they can fix a heart in a half an hour, looks like there will be more men than women as the first cohort of the hippies gets into old age”

That pretty much wrapped up any conversation for the next 50 miles.

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