Back when I worked for Oscar Meyer, tattoos were taboo. So to have one, whether it was accidental or not, was something you kept under cover.

It was the premier of what was to become one of the finest hog shows in the state of Iowa. We were all excited because it was going to be the first carcass evaluation to be associated with a live show.

This meant that every hog had to be permanently identified, the forerunner of modern day tattooing. Today there are pretty sophisticated systems in place to accomplish this feat. But back then it was a pretty archaic procedure.

Not being very ambidextrous, plus young and over-zealous about the prospects of this venture, it was an accident waiting to happen. The tattoo hammer was in the hands of the wrong guy — anybody else but me.

Just as the hog zinged as I went to zag, the hammer came down hard on my knee. But it wasn’t quite a square hit, there was only the imprint of two of the four letter/numerical characters that went deep into my knee: – – O X.

It was many years before that fitting imprint finally faded away.

Before the evening was over, there were a lot more mishaps, but none that serious. Nothing serious enough to require medical attention, but a couple of libations were in order.

Everyone was so pumped up about the prospects of a carcass evaluation following the live shows. It had never been done before, so there were plenty of reasons to celebrate. Sometimes it didn’t take a reason for this bunch to imbibe.

On this occasion though, we kind of over did it, but it was all for a good cause with a lot of public relations involved — a justifiable corporate expense. At least this is what a voice from the back seat thought, as we started back for home.

"Hey, pull over to the side of the road by this cemetery".


"We need a few names for our expense accounts."

That was the beginning of the carcass shows that have since revolutionized the hog industry. It took all the prejudice and politics out of livestock shows. And remains to this day the best measuring tool of achievement for the livestock industry.

Read also: "Oscar Meyer: The Best Job I Ever Had" 

"PONY TALES by" Ponty is written by Ken E. Knight, the author of the “Knightro Report”, a nationally syndicated livestock-marketing column, which is featured in the "Farm And Livestock Directory" every month.