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In Defense of The Chicken

Stop me if you’ve ever heard anyone ever say something positive about a chicken…. That’s what I thought, because no one ever has. If you’re calling someone a chicken, you’re saying they’re a coward. If you are telling a joke about a chicken, it’s probably about it crossing the road and is awful. If you say something tastes like chicken, you are saying it tastes generic and boring. If someone is running around out of control, you say they are running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Even the cows from Chik-fil-a are telling you to eat more chicken. Is there any reason for all this negativity surrounding chickens? What did they ever do to us to deserve this kind of treatment? Not only do we kill and eat them by the millions every year, we also steal and cook their eggs. Or, we paint their eggs for Easter. And beyond all that, we then have the audacity to insult chickens nonstop for no reason. I think it’s time we stopped this nonsense and gave the chicken its due.

At least in my circles, calling someone a chicken has gone out of vogue recently. Of course, much of that is due to eschewing words like ‘chicken’ in favor of much stronger words like ‘pussy.’ Regardless, what did chickens ever do to have their name be synonymous with being a coward? I can’t think of a single reason. They are assuredly not the most cowardly animals, especially in a world where meerkats, gophers, mice (any animal that lives hidden underground or in a wall, really), turtles, and humans exist, all of whom are far more cowardly than chickens. Not only this, but there is also the game called ‘chicken’ where two cars (at least usually cars) drive as fast as they can straight into each other and whoever moves out of the way, saving both of their lives, is the chicken. Of course, it makes perfect sense that the party who decides they don’t want to die of stupidity is the coward, while the one willing to die is the glorious victor. The next time someone offers to play against you in chicken, move out of the way immediately and accept everyone calling you a chicken as the compliment it should be. Don’t even get me started on chicken fighting in a pool. I’ve never seen chickens stacked on top of each other (though I wish I had), chickens aren’t tall, they don’t live in water, and unless humans force them to, they generally don’t fight. The name of this game makes no sense. If anything it should be called Goonies fighting because there’s one person on top of another (even if they aren’t inside a trench coat)(or even Vincent Adultman fighting). That’s all to say that chicken fighting is just about the least accurate name for a game I’ve ever heard and is a horrible representation of the chicken.

Secondly, can we retire the ‘why did the chicken cross the road’ joke? It was never funny and the variations made up later to liven it up only made it more unbearable. And again, why is chicken the animal being used here? Chickens aren’t animals often seen trying to cross roads. Deer? Yes. Squirrel? Also yes. Bird? Kind of. Tiger? Interesting… But definitely not a chicken. Chickens live horrible lives indoors at farms until the time comes for them to be slaughtered for your gluttonous enjoyment. They don’t exactly have the time to be gallivanting about town crossing roads and going on vacations. “Why did the deer cross the road?” It didn’t. It stopped in the middle like an asshole and I hit it with my car.” There. I’ve already improved on the ‘chicken crossing the road’ joke. Now there’s no reason to use the original ever again.

Saying something ‘tastes like chicken’ is another phrase that needs to be retired. Any time someone eats anything unfamiliar and can’t come up with an accurate comparison for it, they say it tastes like chicken. But it never does. What does that goat taste like? Tastes like chicken. You know what tastes like chicken? Chicken. Chicken is chicken and everything else is everything else. Goat tastes like goat. Cat tastes like cat. And chicken tastes like chicken. Chicken is the lifeblood of the American diet. Every other food should be embarrassed because it is getting its ass handed to it by chicken every year (except corn). So the next time you’re thinking about saying something tastes like chicken, don’t; because it doesn’t. Those other meats aren’t fit to walk the same earth as the chicken, but they’re allowed to anyway, because the chicken is a benevolent food dictator.

The Chicktator: A tough but fair leader

The chicken expression that bothers me most is when people say someone is ‘running around like a chicken with its head cut off’ and that this is somehow meant as an insult. The fact that a chicken can still run its head has been removed from its body is nothing less than a miracle. No one could ever run around like a human that got their head cut off because humans immediately die if you cut off our heads, just like basically every animal. If anything, running around like a chicken with its head cut off should be the highest of compliments. “You invented the self-driving car. You’re like a chicken running with its head cut off. It seems impossible, but it still happens.” Where do we get the right to make fun of an animal for being seemingly immortal? It has to be jealousy. Imagine if any of Henry VIII’s wives had been chickens? They would have made a mockery of the entire government, running around for several minutes after having their heads guillotined off. That would have been the coolest thing in your history book. Unfortunately, they were all humans, so all they did was die, while you remained asleep in your history classes in high school.

All of the previous slights done unto chickens are woefully unfair, but I believe the most egregious to be the treatment of chickens at Easter. The entirety of Easter is based around (if you ignore all the religious aspects, as I have chosen to do here) a bunny that hides candy filled eggs all around for children to find as a sort of scavenger hunt. So, we fill fake eggs with candy and paint real eggs in pastel colors. Unfortunately, bunnies are mammals and don’t even lay eggs, so the entire premise doesn’t make any sense. Thus, our fake eggs are modeled after chicken eggs and our real eggs are actual chicken eggs. And does the chicken get any credit for supplying all the boys and girls with Easter fun? Of course not. All the credit goes to the bunny, who provides nothing of value. He’s a credit thief and a kidnapper.

In conclusion, I’m not saying that we should stop eating chicken, or that, if a time comes when it makes sense to create a game or expression with chickens involved, we shouldn’t include it, but let’s stop getting chickens involved with negative things it has nothing to do with. I’m not saying we should get rid of the Easter Bunny in favor of an Easter Chicken, just that we should take a moment to thank the chicken for all that it provides for us. We don’t have to constantly praise chickens, but can we at least stop adding unnecessary insult to the astounding amount of injury the chicken faces already? #IStandWithChickens

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