There is a saying in the world of IT technology… “When Pigs Fly”. Actually the term has been around for a long time and is used in a variety of situations. Pink Floyd’s Animals album cover has a pig flying over the Battersea power station in England. According to the article on wikipedia.org, they diverted air traffic at Heathrow airport to shoot the picture. Can you imagine flying for 12–16 hours and finally getting to England only to look out the window and see a flying pig?
Most people use the term to refer to something that will never happen. It’s a pretty cynical view of the situation being discussed, but hey, we aren’t the most optimistic carbon life forms now are we?
According to Michael Quinion, the phrase dates back to at least 1586. Quoting his webpage on the subject, “It seems to have been a traditional Scottish proverb, which was first written down in 1586 in an edition of John Withal’s English-Latin dictionary for children. This had an appendix of proverbs rendered into Latin, of which one was the usual form of the proverb in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: “pigs fly in the air with their tails forward”. If they did indeed fly, the proverb argues, flying backwards would seem a small extra feat.”
If you happen to find a reference that goes back further in time, let me know. It would be kewl to find an Egyptian hieroglyphic of a flying pig.
I thought the “When Pigs Fly” game at the Discovery Animal Planet website was a cute idea. It’s interesting that there are all kinds of organizations, music CD’s, and movies that use the term.
I guess that’s what I get for picking a picture to use in a blog post that will be part of some documentation. I’ll be done with the documentation, my mid year review, and have all of my expense reports submitted by Monday. Yea, right… “When pigs fly!!!”.