Does your bacon glow in the dark?
If so, you may have gotten hold of a radioactive pig. Yep, I said radioactive pig.
It is a problem of global proportions, or at least a problem where radioactive pigs raise hell.
Six years after an earthquake and subsequent tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, experts who will probably never live anywhere near it say radiation is now low enough that former residents can safely return home. The problem is, with no humans around, wild boars in the area have bred like rabbits and the aggressive – and potentially radioactive – creatures freely roam the abandoned towns.
“It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars,” Tamotsu Baba, mayor of Namie, told Reuters this month. “If we don’t get rid of them and turn this into a human-led town, the situation will get even wilder and uninhabitable.”
Japan isn’t the only country plagued by radioactive pigs. In 2013, the New York Daily News reported that Italian officials discovered several cases of radioactive boars in the northern part of their country. Because there are no nuclear power stations in Italy, experts believe the radiation came from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
In 2010, the NPR show “All Things Considered” discussed the discovery of radioactive pigs in Germany.
Charles Hawley, editor of Spiegel Online International in Berlin, said the number of wild boars in his neck of the woods was estimated to be around 2.5 million and “quite a few of them are indeed radioactive, mostly in southern Germany. That was sort of the major fallout zone of the Chernobyl disaster, and so as a result, there's quite a bit of radioactivity still in the ground.”
And what kind of problems do radioactive pigs cause?
“Well, there are stories of them bursting into supermarkets,” Hawley told NPR. “Occasionally, they'll break up a church meeting. Quite often they'll be causing car accidents, that kind of thing.”
As the interim senior nuclear swine correspondent for this award-winning publication, I’ve put together the following Q&A to help you understand and deal with this growing threat.
Q. It seems radioactive pigs are a problem in faraway places, places that have previously had trouble with other evil creatures like Godzilla, Mothra and Hitler. Should we worry here in the good ol’ USA?
A. Yes. All it takes is one spilled cup of coffee at the Springfield Nuclear Plant and radioactive pigs will swarm the country like locusts – radioactive locusts with an unquenchable thirst for human blood and a three-movie deal with the SyFy channel.
Q. I plan on visiting Germany this spring and would like to go to supermarket to purchase beer and bratwurst because that is all I know about the country’s cuisine and then go to a church meeting. What should I do if a radioactive pig bursts in?
A. First, remain calm. Do not make eye contact. If approached and confronted by a radioactive pig, tell him you are an American tourist and a personal friend of TV icon David Hasselhoff. All Germans love David Hasselhoff, even the radioactive pigs.
Q. What happens if I eat a radioactive pig? Is it dangerous?
A: As Charles Hawley told NPR, “it's not so much of a huge danger for people. Generally, radioactivity builds up over time in people. And if you're eating boar every meal that has never been checked for radioactivity, it could be a problem over time. But most people, of course, are not.”
But, if you are eating plenty of radioactive pig, there are some advantages. For instance, eventually you’ll be able to cook a Hot Pocket just by holding it in your hand.
And, as Porky might say, “Th-th-th-that's all folks!”
Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News and a humor columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.