Chickens and pigs: A complete commitment for the pig would just be involved for the chicken. *iStock photo
Chickens and pigs: A complete commitment for the pig would just be involved for the chicken. *iStock photo

Bermudians often latch on to catch phrases and before long there is a unique Bermudian variation or the phrase is taken out of context.  A recent incarnation is the notion of ‘shared sacrifice’.

To help explain the correct context, I had to search the recesses of my mind and ask several friends.  And then I found the answer… the fable of the Chicken and the Pig dating back to 1950.  I will use a short version.

A Pig and a Chicken are walking down the road.

The Chicken says: “Hey Pig, I was thinking we should open a restaurant!”

Pig replies: “Hmmm, maybe, what would we call it?”

The Chicken responds: “How about ‘ham-n-eggs’?”

The Pig thinks for a moment and says: “No thanks. I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved!”

 If you think the sacrifice is shared, try asking the pigs after breakfast!!

As a typical Bermudian, I want to add my own variation to the fable.  

There was a sick farmer who needed eggs, bacon and milk to survive.  

All the farm animals got the chance to decide whether or not the farmer would get his breakfast.

The cows and chickens spoke first — milk and eggs… no problem.  

Then some of the other animals spoke – the farmer should try just eggs and milk.  

Others — what will happen if he dies?  The goats spoke — we will provide milk if needed.  The turkeys spoke — are we sure he is sick, did he get a second opinion, has he been sick before, what caused the sickness; provide the bacon so he can get better!!  

The donkeys tried to speak but were shouted down.  

Next the pigs spoke – we understand that the farmer is sick. How much bacon is needed? We will provide it if absolutely necessary.  Our only request is to meet privately to decide how we will provide the bacon!!

Then the farmer spoke.  I am getting worse, please hurry up and decide.

He noticed a small group of animals standing aside and asked what they thought. They were speaking quietly. Apparently brain storming, conducting focus groups, talking to the elder animals and doing some online research. After a brief pause, they said we have at least one ‘outside the box’ suggestion. Is turkey bacon an option!!

The turkeys were completely stunned and ran for the barn.

Bermuda’s lessons:

• There is no dispute that the farmer is sick (Bermuda will run out of cash) but not unto death (Bermuda will not go bankrupt). Any new borrowing will be expensive.

• The proposed sacrifice for the pigs, chickens, cows and other animals are not shared equally (public service salaries, government programmes, parliamentary salaries and the private sector).

• Do not shout down the donkeys; listen to the quiet observers and consider all options — genuine shared sacrifices… involve the community in the solution (OBA, PLP, employers, grocers, IB, banks, BELCo etc).

• There are some turkeys amongst us (lots to say until we realize the need for personal sacrifices equal to the pigs).

• The farmer’s good health is critical to the survival of the farm.

What kind of animal are you?  Chicken, Cow, Pig, Goat, Donkey, Turkey or general farm animal? 

I repeat my recommendation for Premier Cannonier and PLP Leader MP Bean to jointly chair the Tripartite Economic Committee (‘The TEC’) arising from Public Employees’ salary negotiations. 

Turkey bacon anyone?!