Not too long ago there was a loose pig running around near I-75. Efforts to find the pig fell short and as each day went on, the pig remained free. Even though he enjoyed his freedom, the cards were stacked against him. Unfortunately, there’s no future for a pig on the loose. With no education or local contacts to hide them, most pigs will end up on the streets at the beck and call of some pimp.
Every so often the animals get loose and run the streets for a while—usually after a livestock truck turns over on the expressway. The last big one I remember was a cattle truck that overturned on I-285 near Roswell Road some 20 years ago. Some of the cattle were killed but many escaped to terrorize a nearby upscale suburban community for days. Numerous cattle sighting were called in to 911 by panicked homeowners:
“911—what is your emergency?”
“Aughhhhhh! There’s a cow in the back yard! He’s slowly lumbering around the yard! Help please!!!”
“Ma’am, it’s a cow.”
“Aughhhh!!! Send the SWAT team!!”
“Ma’am, it’s a cow. Pull yourself together. When was the last time you heard of a cow attacking anything? What is it doing now?”
“Oh, my God!!! He’s grazing on the Bermuda—and dangerously grazing at that! I’m trapped! I can’t get to my Lexus and for the love of God, send help before we’re late for soccer practice!
“Okay, be calm….ma’am?”
“Oh no, we’re too late.”
Okay, I got a little out there on that and honestly it doesn’t have a point.
I guess it’s fortunate that most animals are so dumb they don’t know what’s in store for them in. Domesticated animals obviously have the luxury of being favorites of humans. They live a good life and most reach the golden years without too much baggage. As long as they don’t poop on the carpet, we’re pretty happy with them.
Such is not the case with the poor chicken.
Chickens are doomed from the beginning. They’re ugly, walk funny, and don’t really fly more than a few feet at a time although they have the staying power to run a few laps after their heads are cut off. We keep chickens around long enough to squeeze a few eggs out of them and/or feed them until they’re nice and plump and then whack ’em for food. The worst quality of all is their lack of communication. At some point, you would think word would get out about the carnage that awaits them. Apparently it doesn’t.
I never really had a fondness of chickens—live ones. They’re not cuddly and they smell bad.
I have a chicken story, however, as we all do.
‘Maybe I could rescue this chicken’
It was a clear summer morning and I was on my way to work. I was driving on Ga. 400, going nowhere fast. In the lane to my right was a large chicken truck. Chicken trucks are basically flatbeds with numerous cages strapped onto it. Each cage is loaded with chickens. By the time they’re loaded in the cages, some are alive and some are dead. On this day, all the way to the rear of the truck, one of the cages was missing, creating a ledge. On the ledge, outside of the cage, was a chicken—standing there staring out at the lines of slow-moving cars. No one seemed to notice the chicken. As you know, in congested traffic, sometimes you drive almost even with another car for miles at a time. I would watch the chicken and then the truck would either fall back or move ahead. I’d forget about the chicken and then it would reappear alongside my car. After two or three times, I began to think about what a tremendous opportunity this chicken had. He was certainly headed to the slaughter house. All his buddies were either dead or going to be soon and this guy was sitting in the lucky seat. Yet he had no clue.
I turned the crummy drive-time radio down and concentrated on the chicken that stood atop his doomed friends and family caged on this truck. I don’t even know if anyone else noticed but this chicken was at a critical and pivotal point in its young life.
As we crawled along the highway, I thought: “Maybe I could rescue this chicken. After all, it was just luck of the draw that he, among all the other chickens on the truck, managed to end up outside of the cage. It is his lucky day. Maybe I should help. Maybe this is what I’m supposed to do. I looked to the sky and said: “Dear Lord, is it my destiny to rescue this stupid chicken from certain doom?”
I’m not sure but I think I heard the reply go: “You idiot! It’s a chicken!”
As we crawled along, the truck again fell back in traffic. I looked in the mirror to see if the chicken was still on the ledge. As the truck gained and then passed me, and I could see that the chicken was still on the truck. He seemed confused over his dilemma.
I began to plan my rescue. After all, I had blue lights and if I wanted to, I could pull the truck over and then explain to the driver the story of the chicken on the back of his truck and how it reached an emotional chord in me and after talking with the Lord but not really getting a clear answer in return, I still felt that I should rescue him.
Surely this driver wouldn’t mind missing one chicken because this had to be the chicken’s destiny. I would rescue the chicken, put it in my car—and then it hit me.
What the heck was I going to do with a chicken?
I’m not putting a dirty chicken in my car. They’re ugly, walk funny, and don’t really fly more than a few feet at a time.
As I exited off the highway, I thought about the chicken. I was sure he was still standing there on the top of the other cage when the truck reached the chicken-processing plant. I’m sure the driver was surprised—and then quickly recovered and snatched the stupid chicken up and put him back in the cage and that was that. Maybe that was his destiny all along. After all, chickens are stupid creatures. We are meant to be who we are: the species that sits atop the food chain! We are here because of our superior intelligence and opposable thumbs! We rule!
Just then the Lord delivered to me another message:
“You left your turn signal on.”