Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Wagon Wheel gives us a new twist on a standard theme. Pinky (as the website identifies him) is not simply preparing to dive onto the grill. No, he has contrived to be sent from present-day Stilwell, Kansas, back in time to the Papal Inquisition, there to subject himself to horrors unending and the torments of the soul. Thus, the act we see the pig performing in a state of near-ecstasy. "The Devil's Bicycle," as it is known in the alternate universe under discussion, involves the penitent pedaling a burning wagon wheel, all the while dodging the Holy Spit.
We have never before met Pinky, but we know him all too well. His pathology, his utter shamelessness... Cross-eyed, he goggles humorously. His lopsided ears waggle. This has become a staple of suicidal food and it's almost more than we can bear. We look away. To spare him? Ourselves?
His Act of Faith—his auto de fe—is, truly, the sacrifice he was born to make, one that Wagon Wheel patrons receive with gladness, sloppy-fingered and besmeared of face. Still, we must ask: What weight does his sacrifice bear if it was Pinky's destiny to perform it? Could a pig so suicidal have done any different?