Sunday, May 29, 2005

WHY DID THE CHICKEN Get arrested for jaywalking?


A chicken fined $54 for illegally crossing a road in California has had the charge thrown out by a court.

Hahaha. Seems a cop decided to collar an unreformed hen that insisted on doing what chickens have done for the last 10,000 years: crossed the road to see what was on the other side. Which came first? The chicken or the road?

This brings me to a story about my own chickens. In Tucson during the early seventies, I was part of a project showing how one can farm in space on a very small but intense scale. I had a multi tiered garden with vines growing on trellises with hanging bags for the melons, I had rabbits and chickens and measured their input/output versus what they needed to eat, how much of this could be generated from the garden.

The chickens I chose to use were Yokahamas. These Japanese noble birds have tails as long as a pheasant, at least the roosters do. So I sold rooster feathers on the side.

Roosters crow. And my rooster was a very manly rooster who strutted his stuff and had four inch spurs like daggers and was the wonder of all my neighbors who were lovers of cock fights. Everyone loved my chickens and I sold the excess eggs to the neighbors.

One day, a city official came by. I was working in the garden when he said to me, "You have to get rid of the rooster." I stopped working and asked him why. "The rooster is noisy," he said, whipping out a book for fines.

Just then a flight of fighter jets took off from Davis Monthan near by. The roar was deafening. "What did you say?" I yelled.

"Your rooster is too loud," he bellowed. The rooster joined in the ruckus only we couldn't hear him.

Neighbors came out to watch and began to laugh. Nonetheless, I was hauled into court. I showed up with the rooster in question, he was very tame, and had him perch on the stand and testify. He gave the judge a hearty cock a doodle doo. Everyone laughed. There were newspaper and TV reporters in the room. He became a celebrity. He won his case and went home riding on my shoulder, in triumph.

Later, we auctioned him off for a fundraiser for Democratic Presidential candidate Mo Udall.

By the way, near my farm today is a pond with a "Goose crossing" sign and yes, the geese cross there and they do have the right of way!

But I always wondered why there never was a joke, "Why did the goose cross the road?" or perhaps, we already know: to swim.

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