Archived Story

Pork bellies; what’s in your smokehouse?

Published 9:52pm Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The commercial starts with a picture of the national debt meter running faster than a backyard squirrel can find and shimmy up a bird-seed feeder. Then, the smooth talking William Devane comes on and tells us that “I’ve worked hard for my money.” I thought he was an actor.
Anyway, he begins to tell us that life is uncertain. Well, duh? But that we would be in much better shape, financially, if we would simply buy some gold. Thanks, William, send me a few pounds.
After telling us about the appreciation of gold and how much it has increased in value throughout history, he asks, “What’s in your safe?”
First of all, I don’t have a safe and, if I did, I wouldn’t buy gold. I’d buy pork bellies. They’re up 47 percent in the last year. Take that, Mr. hard-working William Devane.
You may be wondering “What are pork bellies?” To say that they have to do with a hog is obvious. And we all know what a belly is, so we might assume that a pork belly has to do with the belly of a hog. That’s true.
In fact, the definition of pork belly is the “boneless cut of fatty meat from the belly of a pig.”
Sounds tasty, doesn’t it?
Once pork bellies have been cut and cured; that is smoked and salted, they become one of the most popular meats in America: bacon. Whether you have realized it or not, our country has gone bacon crazy. In fact, if you look up the popularity of bacon on the computer, the first opportunity for you to examine is “bacon-mania.”
What once was a simple breakfast meat to go along with eggs or one of the main ingredients of a BLT has turned into bacon vodka, chocolate covered bacon strips, bacon doughnuts, and so on. Wendy’s, the hamburger chain, created what they called the “Baconnator.”
The “Baconnator” is a hamburger with six strips of bacon on top of a half-pound of ground round and covered with cheese. The old advertising slogan from the Lays Company, “Bet you can’t eat one” need not apply.
By the way, the “Baconnator” sold 25 million in its first eight weeks. Stock prices for Lipitor went through the roof.
Meanwhile, Donna Sue mentions that she would like some bacon and, like all good husbands, I drop all that I’m doing and go to the store for some bacon. I know where they keep it and see the brand that we usually buy. Ever heard of sticker shock?
The meat man appears and I ask, “May I have a price check? It looks like the first number on this price tag has been mistakenly listed as a nine, as in $9.09. That’s probably for two pounds and I only want one.”
“Oh, that’s the right price,” he kindly says. “The price of bacon is out of this world.”
“Can I have three slices?” He didn’t laugh.
Back to William Devane and his question of what is in my safe. Gold seems to be a good hedge against the uncertainties of modern finances. It seems that the world will always treasure it.
But, who wants just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill investment. Not me. I’m going back to the old days and build me a smokehouse and fill it full of pork bellies. Next year, you may see me on television, in gold-threaded overalls asking the question, “What’s in your smokehouse?”

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