The Beaded Warthog

Last week Steve commented that he thought there was an interesting story as to why I have a beaded warthog. I’ll let you all decide.

About 15 years ago, I traveled to South Africa to do a site inspection with a client. Like usual, I arrived a day ahead to make sure everything is all set for the client. The next morning, after I had met with the hotel and the ground supplier, I got a call from the States.  The client and the account executive couldn’t get out of Cincinnati due to a huge ice storm.  By the time they would be able get to South Africa, it would pretty much be time to turn around and head home.  Believe me, traveling to South Africa is a long haul, so you don’t want to go there to come home  immediately!

So the next six days were almost like a vacation including great food and even a little shopping time. I had already found a Nelson Mandela t-shirt for YA (this trip was the week after he passed away), but since there wasn’t a client, my driver and I started taking time to stop at roadside stands as we drove around. It was at one of these stands that I found the beaded warthog.

It’s very common to find beaded animals in South Africa. The locals use reclaimed/recycled wire to sculpt the bodies and then use little glass beads to do the decoration. Elephants make up the majority of these beaded souvenirs, but you can also find giraffes, lions and rhinos.  I had never seen a warthog before (and haven’t since either) and it struck me as hysterical because the missing client worked for the swine division of a husbandry pharmaceutical company.  I forked over the money happily and added it to the little store of items I had bought for the client.

When I got back to my office, I called the account exec to let him know that I was doing some good notes and also sending the gift items to the client. Since I thought the beaded warthog was so funny I mentioned it specifically.  There was an awkward pause and he said “You know, she doesn’t have nearly as good a sense of humor as you.”  When I pushed him about what he meant, he broke down and said that she was very sensitive about the pig connection and he didn’t think sending the warthog would be a good idea.  He was worried that this would hurt my feelings.  Ha – just the opposite – I got a great insight into a client I hadn’t worked with before AND now I have a beaded warthog!

Have you ever had a gift go wrong?

28 thoughts on “The Beaded Warthog”

  1. My dad used to tell a story about a prudish client. He created a stuffed cow intended to be used as a premium by the Clover Leaf Dairy folks. I think their slogan was “milk from contented cows,” and cows were featured in their ads. Dad designed a happy cow (it smiled) with a prominent udder. He was stumped by the challenge of making teats. In the end he glued four fluffy pompoms on the udder where the teats would be. He named the stuffed toy cow Clover.

    There was a sales meeting between my dad and the president of Clover Leaf (a woman) and her vice president. The president studied the stuffed cow for a long time. Finally she sniffed, “This is a very nice cow, Mr. Grooms, but did you really have to include these . . . faucets?”

    That triggered the vice president to roar, “Hell, them’s not ‘faucets’ Judy! Those are tits, cow tits! Without them tits, you wouldn’t be in business!”

    Dad always enjoyed thinking of that business relationship, wondering how long it lasted.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Back when I still had cows, every now and then that term would come up. Technically, the medical name for those is “teats” and depending on the company, sometimes I called them teats and sometimes tits.
      If we were doing a grade school tour they were teats. A bunch of first grade boys don’t need to be given the permission to run around yelling tits all day.

      When I was young my Mom taught me how to sew by making potholders. I gave them to my aunts.
      Many years later I made some pot holders and gave them to Kelly for Christmas one year. She didn’t appreciate them as much as I seem to recall my aunts appreciating them. 🙂

      I love that story VS! The beaded Warthog is pretty cool too! Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. The last stop on my African safari several years ago was the Ngorongoro crater, where we stayed at a lodge on the rim. On our final morning our room steward gave both of us a beaded rhino as a parting gift. Because mine is only about 1″ X 3″, it is mostly wrapped copper wire with colorful beads around the body. It is adorable and one of my favorite souvenirs from that trip.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. How exactly, given my limited rhino and warthog experience, would I know this detail? I love the figure. Very fun, but how do you know the difference?

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        2. Speaking of Rhinos… at the first play rehearsal I give out an emergency contact sheet. It’s the usual form we’ve all done, but after those questions I put a few on the sheet just for fun and that are somehow tied into the show.
          We’ve just started rehearsals for a show called ‘The Christians’, It’s a play about faith.

          Questions on this form include
          1) “Do you believe in things you can’t see Y/N”,
          2) “Then how do you explain unicorns?”,
          3) “Creationism or Evolution?”
          4) “Explain the Big Bang Theory”.

          There’s only 6 people in this show.
          1) 4 yes, 1 No, 1 Maybe
          2) -Rhinos, -The very best horses. -I can’t, They exist, they’re just called manatees, -They’re my friends, -Wish they were real.
          3) Four said Evolution (which I found really interesting. 1 said ‘Both’ and one said ‘Simulation’.
          4) Three gave some example of the universal ‘Big Bang’ universe expanding explanation. Two said something about the TV show and one said “Nothing + Nothing = something”.

          Liked by 4 people

        3. My experience with warthogs and rhinos is extremely limited, too, Jacque, but there’s no way you’d confuse the two. Rhinos are huge, often weighing more than a ton. The warthog is relatively small in comparison, adult males weighing in the neighborhood of 165 lbs.
          A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. The rhino has one or two horns on the nose.

          Liked by 4 people

  3. One I can think of was a Christmas after we’d started doing gag gifts (for the adults, at least) with Husband’s family. It was kind of sporadic, but of course I had to find something for everyone. I came upon, at a thrift shop, a woman’s tee shirt with two fried eggs strategically placed on the upper front of shirt. It seemed funny to me at the time, and I hadn’t found anything else for Third Sister, but I don’t think it was particularly well received. (In retrospect, I should have given it to the sister who had more of a sense of humor.)

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Bill, that’s the kind of story that I can only imagine happening in America. It seems like the kind of story that I might have read about in a Danish newspaper, giving credibility to the notion that Americans are (were?) extreme prudes and gullible beyond belief. What a hoot.

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    1. And what are the chances that one of us would also have had a fried eggs t-shirt in her life? I got this shirt someplace when I was in college and I didn’t wear it much except at home because I knew it drove my father out of his mind.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It would be a wonderful coincidence. But I’m guessing that wherever I got rid of it, it’s disintegrated by now. I think the last time I wore it was a good 35 years ago

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  4. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Many years ago, in the days of very restricted budget, I attempted several ill advised “make your Christmas gifts.” Those gifts, a misshapen set of pillows and a pathetic table runner, were less than enthusiastically received. Not funny, just pathetic.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sounds like a great retirement gig doesn’t it? So just for fun I Googled “the beaded warthog” to see if maybe someone had beaten us to this great name for a British pub and the very first thing at the top is our blog for today. No pubs.

    Liked by 4 people

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