It was the 1980s. New York. Marketing department in a huge, powerful corporation.
Our boss was a confused — and confusing person. She claimed credit for our best ideas, badmouthed us to senior management, and spent days behind closed doors doing who knows what until she would bolt out, rage at her nearest direct report (unfortunately usually me because my office was closest), and then race back to her ofice, slamming the door behind her. However, there were very occasional shocking, magical days when our work was good, our presentations solid, and all was well, so unexpected and brilliant that we didn’t know what to do with our faces.
We’d assemble behind our own closed doors and try to figure out what was really going on. Why was she suddenly normal — and even kind of nice? Were we going to be fired? We’d conjecture over lunch, examining the entrails of our cheeseburgers, walking outside in the bright sun, hoping that the good time continued (although it never did for very long).
On a exceptionally ordinary day with furies and horror all around us, my friend and colleague came into my office looking stunned. He’d emerged from the their daily status update meeting and she remarked casually that he’d done a great job on the market report.
You go in, he urged. She’s in a good mood — tell her about the focus group results and hit her up for more resources.
He laughed. Listen to us, he said. It’s like we’re in battle and there’s flames and bullets, bombs, and missiles….The flying pigs are duelling choppers and the pigs are winning. It’s impossible, but there they are and here we are.
He left my office. I thought hard, pulled together my proposal, and knocked timidly on her door. She approved my focus group analysis on the spot, encouraged me to take it further, and authorized resources.
Coming out, I shot right to my friend’s office. He grinned as I blithered. You’re right. Pigs are flying. It is a great and glorious day.
And, yup, you guessed it. The next day was the closed door, raging dragon erupting out now and again to rip into us kind of day. But this was the usual way of life, so we kept our heads down and worked hard, yearning for the next battalion of flying pigs.
Until I left the company for a more agile and interesting behemoth, my friend and I traded daily updates, charging into each other’s offices on those miraculous days when pigs were flying to urge one another to be bold and strike hard and fast for what we knew was right for the business.
Flying pigs enjoy favored status in my heart, my home, and my writing. The merry pig sitting on my new favorite planner in the universe, the peerless SELF journal, rejoices at how ideas spark and flare into being, words flow, and stories emerge under her watchful gaze.
Pigs are flying.