Part 1 – A Muffled Oink

Ernest Hemingway once proclaimed, ‘Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk.’ 

He articulated what we’ve all experienced at one point or a few dozen; you consume some libations and begin talking about how you’re going to start converting all those fantastic ideas you have into a reality. Yet when the buzz fizzles out and the eventual hangover fades, nothing meaningful really changes. 

This is a story where the contrary happened, albeit in a peculiar way. 

January of 2016, Shanghai

Twas the night before my birthday and there we were, arms wrapped around each other singing ‘Wagon Wheel’ at 3am as a pink mop bucket full of Jungle Juice* was passed around. No cups necessary for this get together as generous gulps were thrown back from what was supposed to be our ayi’s new cleaning toy.

As the nostalgic song concluded and the last few vodka-soaked watermelon bits were eaten, everyone staggered out of my apartment into the semi-organized chaos of Shanghai to get some sleep before playing duck-duck-goose with a bunch of screaming kids the next morning at their respective English learning centers. 

Only my girlfriend and I remained, engaging in a conversation about what I’d like for my birthday. I had watched a Youtube clip from Charlotte’s Web earlier in the day (classic, up there with The Godfather and Goodwill Hunting) so naturally told her a miniature, live pig. One of those adorable teacup pigs Paris Hilton flaunts as fashion accessories in her Prada purses. We talked a bit more and then entered dreamland. 

Photo of us that fateful night, a few songs before Wagon Wheel and the mop bucket. 

Photo Credit: Jake Zimmerman

With my then-gf a few hours before I nonchalantly said I’d like a mini pig as a present

Photo Credit: Jake Zimmerman

Fast forward 3 weeks

I was walking up the seven flights of stairs to my girlfriend’s apartment, since everybody knows Chinese buildings don’t have elevators unless they’re 12+ stories, as she told me she had a surprise. 

Assuming it was new lingerie to showcase for me, I spritzed some portable yet potent Tim McGraw cologne behind my ears to level up my suaveness and mentally prepare for the evening ahead. I walked in and she was standing in the kitchen, possessing a concerned yet elated look on her face, holding a shoebox infront of her. Solid, no new lingerie but she must’ve seen the fake LeBrons on my internet history I’d been eyeing. 

Suddenly, a muffled oink emanated from the box. I looked at her as if she was simultaneously an angel and devil. She had brought up the notion of a mini pig a few times since my birthday but I assumed it was just chatter that would eventually lead to a cool painting or keychain. She raised the box to just below my chinny chin chin (had to sneak it in) as I gingerly lifted the top and peered inside. A moist pig snout emerged from the ominous darkness and bumped my own nose. 

My gf let out a high-pitched giggle, placed the box on the ground, and removed the top. A live, miniature pig strutted out onto the kitchen floor and gazed up at me, locking eyes in what seemed for an eternity. My heart instantly flooded with warmth but my head told me to sprint out the door, change my number, move cities, and pretend this portion of my life never happened. My heart won as I squatted down to pet the little creature. I was now an interspecies father and life as I knew it was about to change. 

Proud new father

Photo Credit: Jake Zimmerman

My sweet baby during her first night under my care, receiving her first proper shower and posing afterwards on the bedsheets (below)

Photo Credit: Jake Zimmerman


Jungle Juice (Urban Dictionary’s official definition) – (n.) A heavenly concoction composed of liberal amounts of everclear, vodka, or other available liquors, and Kool Aid. Known as 'jungle juice' because it sends the drinker into a state of animal behavior. Can also include fruit bits that have been soaked in liquor for several hours prior to drinking session for maximum drunkenness. Side effects from consumption include blacking out, waking up in strange places, and having a generally awesome time.