Posted by Bob on May 16, 2000
In Reply to: Sweating like a pig! posted by The Horse Wrangler on May 15, 2000
: : : : : Can anyone explain the above and where it derived from?
: : : : Well it's like this. Horses sweat, Hens do not, Pigs sweat but neither Cows, Rabbits, Dogs, Cats or Frogs sweat. Snakes, Hares, Goats, Ducks, Sea Horses, Seals, Haddock, Limpets, Crabs, Sharks, Cockroaches, Ants and Elephants do not sweat. Now I can see a trend emerging: few animals, fish, amphibians, insects or crustaceans sweat but those who do, like the Horse and the Pig, boy do they sweat when the put their minds to it, especially the Horse. Given this is true, and I stand to be corrected on some minor detail, then when someone wanted to emphasis the volume of sweat he/she was producing in a hot environment they would oft times exclaim "I be sweating like a pig" or, if the sweating was even more severe, they would boast "Twas so dammed hot I sweated like a Horse. Other than this I have no answer.
: : : Do pigs sweat? I don't think they do.
: : Hang on, I'll call a farmer friend of mine
: Well you're not entirely correct, but you're more correct that I am. Pigs, apparently, are pretty poor sweaters and in some breeds they hardly sweat at all. There's more, I also discovered that whilst hens don't sweat cows sweat better than pigs. However, the undoubted king of the sweaters it the Horse: were you foolish enough to ride one of these bare backed without serious leg protection the sweat would bring you out in a nasty rash where we humans don't like having rashes.
Those of us who are (from birth) urban, who think that food comes wrapped in shrinkwrap, utterly fail to recognize what someone called "the short distance between death and dinner." Food is not really related to animals; it comes cut up. (I do admit that I saw a cow once. I was almost close enough to touch it.) Hereabouts, cows are in the zoo. In this unreal bubble, we (I'm sure I'm not alone) relate to pigs as mythic creatures, connected to abstract adjectives: dirty, smelly, ravenous, greedy, whatever. Pigs aren't real. So the biological, concrete reality of pigs not sweating (which is why they wallow) is a long, long distance from the reality of sweating so much I smell bad/feel dirty/associate with pig-ness. So it makes perfect linguistic sense, even if the animal husbandry is a bit shaky. In the interest of purity, however, I shall henceforth sweat like a horse.