Proving that Pigs Can Fly
1) You will need a sponsor for your study. This will be fairly simple if you request your funding from organizations (usually governmental or insurance agencies) which would otherwise be held responsible for providing food and shelter for flightless pigs. It is generally assumed that animals who can fly (i.e. birds) can provide for themselves and thus do not require such provisions.
2) You will need to select an appropriate criteria for the selection of your pigs. Avoid any criteria which uses a genetic or other scientific basis to define the term "pig." Instead, use a criteria such as the (fictitious) Junior Scholastic Preschool Definition, which defines pigs as "round-bodied mammals with cloven hooves, curly tails, and flattened snouts." You can then further broaden the criteria by reducing it to simply "mammals with cloven hooves," and rename it "The Revised Scholastic Definition of Pigs." In this manner, you will be able to stock your study group heavily with animals such as deer and antelope.
3) You will also need to correctly define "flight." After careful consideration, you might select a definition which specifies that the animal must have all four feet off of the ground and airborne for a distance of .7 meters.
4) You are now ready to begin recruiting your loosely-defined "pigs" for participation in the study. Eliminate as "unmotivated" all animals who have been observed wallowing in mud, as this is a sign of laziness.
5) Willingness to accept the concept of pig flight is essential. Eliminate all applicants whose limited perceptions exclude this possibility.
6) Begin your training process with a psychological intervention designed to remove all thought processes which would negatively affect pig flight outcomes. Any applicant who refuses this intervention will be considered a dropout of the program, and will not be included in your final statistics.
7) Subject all participants to rigorously enforced jumping exercises, performed on a daily basis. Any "pig" who fails to show up for all exercises will be dropped from the program and, again, will not appear in the final statistics.
8) For the final test, group all "pigs" on a small parcel of land surrounded by a .7 meter-wide ditch with water in the bottom of it. Ignite some loud explosives to scare the daylights out of all the animals, and record which animals clear the ditch in their mad dash to escape. The deer and antelope, who, by this time, make up the largest component of your study group, should clear the ditch easily, thus providing you with impressive success statistics for your study.
9) Any animal who refuses to jump across the ditch will be considered a dropout and will be eliminated from the study results. Any animal who attempts the jump, but lands in the water, will be immediately disqualified for "wallowing." Animals who complain of exhaustion or pain from the jumping will be ignored.
10) Have the entire study peer-reviewed by one of your associates who is in the same business and also stands to gain from your success.
You can now present your impressive statistics to your financial backers, who will laud you openly and will see to it that your studies are published in the most prestigious medical journals. You are also in an excellent position to earn large amounts of money selling your flight-training regimen for pigs. Pigs everywhere will be informed that if they refuse to participate in your program, they will be disqualified from all sustenance benefits which they may be currently receiving. Pigs who DO participate in your program, and successfully manage to complete the .7 meter jump, will be immediately informed that they are now capable of flight and will no longer be considered eligible for food and shelter from any government or insurance agency.
If some pigs organize protest groups, you can dismiss them as "misguided" and "resistant to the mind-body-spirit" approach to self-improvement. You can then apply for another study grant in which you interview these protesters and conclude that their "attributions and perceptions" are limiting their true flight potential.
Good luck, and may your endeavors be profitable!
If this study sounds ridiculous to you, then you have obviously not examined the large number of similarly outrageous studies which have been imposed on sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Gulf War Syndrome.
It is high time that people and governments accepted the following realities:
1) Pigs cannot fly, no matter how hard they dedicate themselves to the effort.
2) Sufferers of the above-mentioned diseases are not going to recover until significant financial resources are invested in biological research to determine the cause, etiology, and effective medical treatments for these serious physical illnesses.
A letter to The Times by Elsie Owings, ME/CFS sufferer and past president of the West Michigan CFIDS Support Group.