Written by Karen Rile
Published: October 17, 2014 at 8:17 AM [UTC]
Carry a baby down the aisle of an airplane and passengers look at you as if you were toting a machine gun. Imagine, then, what it’s like travelling with a one-year-old pig who oinks, grunts, and screams, and who, at twenty-six pounds, is six pounds heavier than the average carry-on baggage allowance and would barely fit in the overhead compartment of the aircraft that she and I took from Newark to Boston. Or maybe you can’t imagine this. —Patricia Marx, from "Pets Allowed"
I was reading Patricia Marx's essay, "Pets Allowed" in the current issue of The New Yorker. Marx, a humorist, is one of the magazine's best writers. In this piece, as a social experiment, she successfully escorts a series of increasingly ridiculous creatures to increasingly absurd venues claiming that they are Emotional Support Animals (E.S.A.s).
She totes a turtle to see the Vermeers at the Frick Collection, where I once had to practically stand on my head to get my calm, serious, tall-for-her-age 9 1/2 year-old admitted. (The minimum age for the Frick turns out to be 10.) A turkey gets seated at a table in a New York delicatessen. An alpaca scores an Amtrak ticket. The clincher, of course, is Daphne, the 26 lb baby pig (too big for the overhead compartment) who gets VIP treatment—she sails through TSA—on a plane trip to Boston.
You can see where this is going. It was easy for Marx because her pig didn't bring its viola.
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