Monday, August 23, 2021

Wild chickens roaming our yard


(440 words)

You’d think the guy who drinks the Wild Turkey would have been the first to see the wild chickens, but you’d be mistaken.

Still haven’t seen them. 

Maybe if I keep drinking more of the one I’ll see the other.

I don’t know how comfortable I am living up in the woods with a flock of wild chickens.

At least we assume they’re wild. They don’t have collars or respond to universal commands like, “Sit!” or “Stay!”

There’s a chance they may belong to some new neighbors. As I will relate, I’m well-aware of the phenomenon of people who raise chickens for fresh eggs. They could be carefree about their incarceration and seeing the benefits of their being free range chickens.

I’m fine with that philosophy right until we see roaming in our yard a pack of free-range pit bulls.

Our property has seen bears, deer, turkey, foxes, ‘coons — all sorts of wildlife.

These are our first chicken visitors.

I’d put up “NO CHICKEN!” signs in the yard, but I fear they’d just thumb their noses at the notice. That is, assuming chicken have thumbs. I know by the menus of the restaurants we patronize they have chicken fingers.

This is as good a time as any for my inevitable chicken finger joke: “Ask the waitress if she has chicken fingers. When she says yes, say, ‘You’re too hard on yourself. Sure, they’re ugly, but they still appear human.”

The waitress will usually laugh, but I’m always prepared to eat my food seasoned with waitress spit.

As I mentioned, I’ve been alert to the home chicken phenomenon since May 2014. I had what to me was a prestigious book signing at the venerable Carnegie Library in Oakland. Library staff were lavish in their promotions. I brought 80 copies of my then-new “Use All The Crayons!” book and lugged them across the vast parking lot to the library auditorium.

And not one person showed up.


It was humiliating.

There were 302,505 people residing in Pittsburgh that day and each and every one of them had something better to do than hear me talk.

Library staffers felt bad for me. One said she couldn’t understand it. Why just the week before they’d had 105 people show up for an author talk.

What was the topic, I asked.

“How to raise chickens in your living room.”

I don’t have to tell you what kind of mood I’ve been in ever since.



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