Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Zest for Life

I read this article with great interest as I sipped my morning coffee, marveling yet again at the journalist prowess of our veteran T-P writers. Shelia Stroup never fails to capture that perfect, heartwarming story, writing incessantly and with seemingly unwavering enthusiasm about that person-who-seems-familiar-but-you've-never-actually-met-them--those stories that really make you want to clean off the front porch and plop down in that old rocking chair and pass the time with a tall glass o' lemonade. She writes about the Everyman with a style that is unmistakable, and the folks in her stories always tread that fine line between offbeat and just plain fucking nuts. Perhaps, given her penchant for these pieces, Ms. Stroup is just plain fucking nuts herself? Ah, but let's save that for another post.

That article really got me thinking, particularly this part:

One of their favorite chickens was a little bantam rooster named Que who walked into their lives in August 2008. His top beak had been clipped so far back that when he tried to drink, bubbles would come out of his eyes. His neck had been broken and he was covered with lice when they found him wandering a couple of blocks from their house.

They didn't think he'd live a week, but they just lost him three weeks ago.

"He was an inspiration to a lot of people," Katrina says. "He really, really had a zest for life."

My friend Holly called attention to the conundrum presented herein: that is, "how can one differentiate between a chicken with a zest for life and a chicken who thinks life sucks?" How, indeed. I've been thinking about this all day.*

The problem, of course, is not just that chickens cannot speak, and therefore pronounce their zest, nor the fact that they are not capable of exclamations of joy that might indicate zest--the problem is really that most chickens, by their very mannerisms, seem zestful. Have you ever watched a chicken? They strut, they squawk, they flutter their wings in a prelude to flight that seems, at least superficially, to indicate excitement. So how does one detect zest-for-life in these enigmatic creatures? May I offer a few suggestions?

* Gets invited to more parties (H/T mom)

* Caught reading Walt Whitman in the backyard

* Vigorous pecking

* 30 minutes of calisthenics every morning

* Enjoys the occasional cigarette

* Always has dessert first

* Seen leading other chickens in a rousing rendition of "Tomorrow"

What else? Anyone have any other suggestions of what to look for when trying to detect that chicken-in-the-rough?

* Yes, this is what I do with my mind on my days off.


Emmy said...

*Yes, you clearly have too much time on your hands.

Cold Spaghetti said...

I am going to have chickens squawking out the tune to "Tomorrow" in my head for DAYS.