The first reports of the World Wide Bacon Shortage hit the Internet in the early fall of 2012. I followed them on my Twitter feed like most people did back then. We were calling it the Aporkalypse and making jokes about it. Blogs and newspapers picked it up next. My mother heard about it on the radio on her way to work. She called me and asked if we had enough bacon in the freezer. She was always worrying about things like that and I would always laugh at her small stockpiles in the basement.
I stopped laughing, eventually. The nightly news programs picked up the stories next and that’s when most people knew about the shortage. It was the topic of dinner conversation in my house that night in late September. We had three packages of bacon in the freezer: two hickory smoked and one apple-wood smoked. I cut the applewood smoked bacon in half so I could eat it for breakfast the next day. All this talk made me crave it something fierce. I wish I had known that this would be the same for everyone. Mass bacon cravings hit the globe that next few days. Restaurants started running out of bacon or adding a surcharge. We never realized how this would affect everything, our ways of life, our future.
Shortly after the holidays, the President broke into the prime time TV lineup to give us the latest on the Bacon Shortage. Most people had moved on to the next big news item and his address caught them off guard. We simply took for granted this shortage. The bacon was still on the grocery store shelves, albeit it a little more expensive than before. He explained the timeline – We would be without bacon by the year’s end. It was as simple as that. Those first reports back in the fall caused bacon manufacturing to go in full swing which drastically sped up the already declining European pig herds. The President told us there were teams of scientists working on solving this problem, but in the meantime, turkey bacon was a healthy and easily available alternative.
I don’t think the President expected the outcome of his address – or maybe he did, and this was his way of setting the plan in motion. I read that last part on a conspiracy theory blog – I had been reading more and more of them lately. It was mid-spring and there was little to no real bacon in the supermarkets. After the President’s address a few months ago, people rushed to the supermarkets and bought all the bacon. My mother was one of the first out the door after the address. People were trampled in huge numbers. Remember that scene from that Black Friday sale where people were trampled for TVs and toys? It was worse this time, and it was only for bacon. “Only” – I wish it was that simple. The news reports picked up these incidents and started using the term Aporkalypse. I laughed because this was on Twitter months ago. The images of stay-at-home moms collapsed on the ground while people ran over them to get bacon was unreal. This, sadly, wouldn’t be the last injuries caused by the bacon shortage.
We celebrated Independence Day, not only by reciting Bill Pullman’s speech from the classic film Independence Day, but by eating cheeseburgers with turkey bacon. We had become accustomed to turkey bacon. It wasn’t the same, though, and we knew it – everyone knew it. The latest reports of small riots near pig farms in Europe came in via Twitter. These riots spread and soon all of Poland’s pigs were extinct due to bacon hysteria. Sweden, Hungary and the Netherlands were down to double digits. Every other European country had pig farms with no more than a few hundred pigs per farm. The hysteria soon spread to Asia and Africa. We heard the first reports of bacon hysteria in a small town outside of Portland, Oregon. Soon the entire west coast of the United States was plagued by the hysteria. I was preparing myself for what was inevitably coming to my city just north of Boston.
Thanksgiving came and went. Most people not affected by the hysteria went into hiding. My family took to our attic. There was one window up there so we could see what was happening outside; it looked like that scene from Dawn of the Dead (the superior 2004 remake) when everyone that was still alive was on the roof of the mall and all the zombies were surrounding the mall for what seemed like miles in all directions. I thought back to the President’s address almost a year ago and wondered if he expected this to happen. I wonder if he was in one of those underground bunkers. I began to wonder if he had a secret stash of bacon. I began to wonder if my mother still had a secret stash of bacon. I was sure she had a secret stash. I knew she did. I needed it. Bacon. Bacon. I could smell it. I could hear it sizzling. Bacon. I could taste it.
The first news report of the Bacon Shortage came from this article and sent the Internet into a panic. This report was soon declared false and fortunately this alternate reality I imagined in a state of bacon hysteria will never come to fruition. Needless to say, I have a serious craving for bacon.
Image via Geekologie