June 30, 2003

Why Do You Seek The Chicken?

crazy little story ran in the SF Chronicle the other day. seems some merry pranksters decided to strap 100 helium balloons to a chicken and set it aloft over san francisco, reportedly imitating a recent TV commercial.

Fly Pelican

as it turned out, this ill-fated sojourn came to a tumultuous halt in western addition as the fowl got tangled in some power lines. nevertheless, PG&E officials were able to rescue the bird and deliver it to a local animal shelter.

and so, odd ball animal cruelty saga becomes feel-good animal adoption tale...

as word of this bird's ordeal spread, animal lovers starting lining up to give this chickadee a new home. all told, 22 different applications were filed to formerly adopt the chicken, officially dubbed "Amelia," presumably paying homage to Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart

shelter officials waded through the various applications gazing at "drawings of palatial chicken coops," sifting through "testimonials from children in educational chicken programs," and contemplating desperate pleas like one from a San Francisco man who "needed Amelia as a companion for his current chicken . . . [who] just completed 31 performances in a play about chickens."

how to narrow the field? well, quite obviously, a chicken lottery. three names were drawn at random, with the finalists then facing one-on-one interviews.

and thus, feel-good animal adoption tale transforms into metaphysical zen-like allegory...

apparently, the interview process took on PHD exam-like proportions. here's a subset of the questions:

    - Why do you seek the chicken?
    - What experience do you have with chickens?
    - Do you desire Amelia only because she is a famous chicken?
    - Do you understand the nature of the chicken commitment?

some lady from concord ultimately emerged the winner ("my husband says i treat chickens better than i treat him").

Go Amelia

however, the full significance of this tale potentially extends far beyond the factual outcome: the quest for the chicken suggests a new metaphor for life.

after all, what are we all up to if not "seeking the chicken"?

so much of life is about the search, whether it's for a mate, a job, a home, a passion, a religion, a meaning . . . the chicken could very well encapsulate it all.

or, at the very least, it could give us a conveniently ambiguous explanation for what we've been doing all these years.

so, the question is out there for each of us: why do YOU seek the chicken? surely a question we'd all do well to consider . . .

addendum: to check out the full chronicle article itself, click here.

Posted by bojon at June 30, 2003 11:24 PM