aka: What the curly tale of the three little pigs can teach us about the 2008 housing market crisis
Once upon a time…
There were three little pigs (not those miniature-pigs, mind you—those don’t actually exist; they’re a scam so don’t buy one online—no these were just prepubescent piggies, runts of the litter if you will). Their names were Ham, Bacon, and Prosciutto because they had cynical, millennial pig parents who had prescribed themselves to a life of pessimism and vanity after a financial crisis struck in which a parade of wolves on wall street huffed and puffed and blew down many houses of swine. But that’s another story.
Well, anyways, let’s just skip a bit here on the whole character development thing. So, yeah, one day, the three brother pigs (or sister pigs, I don’t know, whichever or neither, I’m not a sexist pig after all) decided to build them each a home. Because living in a pit of mud had become dull and they said to their old folks that they were too good to stay in that pigsty any longer. What pretentious little piggies.
Now at this juncture, I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, these animals walk and talk?” Yes, animals in these tales are always anthropomorphized for some reason. Don’t ask me why. I suppose because it would be a rather dull story to hear otherwise.
But anyways, Ham, always the shrewd one, decided to build his home out of straw—you know, the stuff many animals like horses and I’m pretty sure pigs will eat. Not the drinking straws due to a global shortage since coffee shops have decided that those plastic tubes of death suck—literally and figuratively. Obviously, he finished first. As they say, if you want a job done fast, just assign the laziest person in the office to do it because they’ll find the quickest way to get it done.
Bacon, however, opted to build his home out of sticks because there’s hardly anything better smelling than some hickory smoked bacon, and this guy was oinking for the ladies (or vice versa; again, not a chauvinist here).
And then there was Prosciutto, a more refined swine. A sophisticated gourmand with a cane, monocle, and British accent for some reason. He built his home out of bricks—you know, like what many normal houses are made of. Actually, he probably didn’t build anything. He probably outsourced and hired a general contractor.
Well one inevitably plot-convenient day, the Big Bad Wolf (I guess that’s his [or her, wait no, it’s a bad guy so definitely a he] proper first, middle, and last name) was prowling around to find another sucker to commit fraud against. He then came upon the three pigs’ homes.
Mr. Big B. Wolf then proceeded to knock on little Ham’s door and proclaimed, “Little pig, little pig, won’t you let me come in? I promise that these interest rates won’t change for the first three years!” The wee little pig then proceeded in a rather rough, rash, and rudely manner to shout, “Not by one hair follicle upon either of my double chin!” “Well, I never!” responded Mr. Wolf. “Then I suppose I’ll just have to huff and puff and blow your house down!” Because I guess that’s a normal emotional reaction from a door-to-door salesman who’s been turned away? And so, he did just that, and the house of straw came crashing down. This event would become known as the Second Great Housing Market Crash of the 2000s.
Now, if this were a melancholier and purist rendition of the classic fable, then Ham’s story would end in the gullet of the beast. However, since we want to remain family friendly in our tale, we won’t even insinuate that the piglets were devoured alive by the blood-thirsty scoundrel. Won’t mention it at all. Instead, somehow, by deus ex machina, the little pig got away and ran to his sibling Bacon’s house.
Lather, rinse, repeat. You know the story. Sticks are also terrible for building livable structures. So, let’s just skip to the next bit.
The Big Bad Wolf was now quite irate at the lack of hospitality shown by the locals. Where he came from, you invited visitors in for a nice brunch—something simple like eggs and bac… never mind. Ham, Bacon, and Prosciutto all hunkered down in the house made of bricks. The Wolf demanded to be let in. Obviously, “not by the hair on their chinny, chin, chins.” Whatever that means. Like does that mean that strangers are normally allowed in if they acquire a piglet whisker to pay a door toll? Is it a triple chin? Either way, the Wolf began to huff and puff and put on another pathetically desperate show but this time to no avail. Prosciutto announced, “We’ll have no huffing and puffing here my good man. This democratic state has not yet legalized use of such substances, and I’m sure all that dramatic Lamaze of yours isn’t for medicinal purposes either.” Nevertheless, Mr. Wolf blew again and again until he passed out due to lack of oxygen to the brain, at which point the three little pigs called animal control and the Federal Trade Commission.
Then they helped themselves to a nice bowl of slop, and they all lived happily ever after. Except for Prosciutto. Because his nice, new home was now overrun and overcrowded with his frustratingly loud and ignorant brothers.
So, now boys and girls, the moral(s) of the story are:
- Avoid taking out a second mortgage, and definitely not any subprime loans on a home that you can’t realistically afford.
- Also, invest in homeowners and wolf disaster insurance.
- Also, also, don’t let strange, hairy people in your house.
- Oh, yeah, and something about the foolish pig builds his/her house out of straws and sticks that can break my bones but words will never hurt me as much as a brick to the face, but the wise pig builds his/her house out of actual building materials. Duh.