Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fan of Piggies

My appreciation for red-haired women has a history dating to well before my discovery of Neko Case; it began with my mom, whose natural hair color was red,* and to my sister, Riki.

When Riki was just out of high school, her boyfriend at the time rode a motorcycle -- incautiously, as it turns out, as the both of them took a spill they barely survived. At the time, Riki's doctor's were sure she'd never have children or regain the use her left arm. Suffice to say she used her left arm frequently when caring for the three children she went on to raise.

Something of that indomitable quality -- another inheritance from my mom -- explains why, in recent years, Riki has returned to motorcycles. There are other qualities in the mix, and those, too, come from my mom, but that's a different matter.

A few weeks ago, a careless driver hit Riki as she rode her motorcycle, severely fracturing her foot. How has she responded to the several surgeries, the long rounds of physical therapy, the prospect of months without the freedom to put her weight on her foot, let alone return to motorcycling?

She has responded in a way that epitomizes her and has inspired this post -- by stepping past the misery, refusing self-pity, and managing to find humor in the situation.

I speak of the "Piggies" photo series now appearing under her Facebook profile, in which she imagines her injured foot -- the "piggy" toes peeking above cast -- as a character in everyday situations. The one at the top, with the caption "Piggies undressed," suggests the severity of the injuries and something of the creative possibilities of the "Piggies" genre.

A few more examples:

"Piggies love/hate relationship" --

"Piggies decisions, decisions" --

One of my very favorites, "Piggies confused" --

My mom would love that I'm writing this on what would have been her 67th birthday, as she loved seeing her kids get along at least as as much as pairing us in a jar, shaking it, and watching us fight.** But in the face of Piggies, there is nothing to fight and everything to admire. In its small and informal way, it shows how the best of us can stand and face the worst that life throws at us, even if we have to balance ourselves on crutches for a time.


* Probably. Who knows?
** Not only would my mom appreciate the quip about the jar and her hair color, it's probably closer to the mark to say I am subconsciously stealing the material from her.

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