Birth of a notion

Well, it looks like my first post of 2018 is going to break some of my rules here. One rule is that I shouldn’t just repost a cute Twitter meme, the second rule is that I shouldn’t give undue attention to a tweet that doesn’t give a link to its original source clearly, and the third rule is that I shouldn’t just regurgitate another article that has been on another site that you, faithful Notioner, may already be a fan of. But I’m going to break these rules because I don’t feel like I’ve seen other people in my social media feeds posting about these special little guys, the tweet brought this to a whole new level, and I feel like the article about these special little guys points to a timeframe when a superstition may have been cooked up. “What special little guys?” you may ask. “LUCKY LEMON PIGLETS,” I roar thunderously in response.

Yeah, I had to make a screenshot of the image in question because embedding a tweet with an image is not working here. And that’s also a rule I don’t like to break but I figure we’re so far down the copyright/attribution rabbit hole that it’s easier to explain with words rather than links at this point. So, the blog Grannie Pantries found this delightful creature in an Alcoa corporate-sponsored party booklet, Twitter user 70s Dinner Party reposted it, 70s Dinner Party followers responded with their own special little guys adorable and terrifying, and now if you go into a particular corner of Twitter you will be stampeded with Lemon Pigs.

Then Atlas Obscura stepped in, did some excellent research, and found that lemon pigs are some weird thing that cropped up in the late 1800s and then sort of disappeared (I mean, not really; they just lost popularity, apparently, though how this could happen, I do not know). They were a thing that kids made to amuse themselves, “like ‘walnut witches’ and cornhusk dolls.” And this was the point where I started to feel a little ripped off as a kid, because I was made aware of cornhusk dolls but not of walnut witches and certainly the only 1800s citrus/clove craft I was ever taught was the “make your mother a lovely orange sachet that she will love!” bullshit that we all fell for.

And then Atlas Obscura brought up something more – the fact that the old lemon pigs didn’t have pennies in their mouths, nor were they designated as lucky. AO posits that the Alcoa folks made the lucky part up, and that this is a fake superstition, but… maybe not? Maybe something happened in that short period when they stopped appearing in children’s craft books and the party book? A desperate former copywriter turned stay-at-home mom jammed a penny into her child’s toy’s mouth so the kid wouldn’t cram it up her own nose, and then she immediately got a call from the Alcoa Aluminum Company offering her a $25,000 advance on a party book? I don’t know. All I know is that I look at that pig and I know his luck isn’t fake. That is a magic special little guy.

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