Farm Animal Trivialities

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

The other day there was a news item on the radio about a woman from Arkansas who was arrested by the state troopers for shooting her husband after he blew away her pet chicken. At first, I thought ‘serves the cad right’ what a fowl thing to do.

Did you get that? A fowl thing? Hot damn, the kid’s still got it.

But the more I thought about it I began to wonder what the circumstances were that led to this double tragedy. How much of a pet was this chicken? What if the bird was given free rein of the house and every time hubby came in from the barn there were bird droppings all over his favourite chair? What if this loony woman set a place for the chicken at the table and every time her husband had a fried egg sandwich, the bird cluck-clucked at him like he was some kind of cannibal? It’s possible we might have a clear-cut case of justifiable chickencide here.

People do get attached to barnyard animals and I understand that, although getting all googly-eyed over a chicken does seem to be a trifle weird. I have often wondered how a farmer feels when his Sunday dinner turns out to be Muriel, the heifer he dressed up in his wife’s dress and entered in the animal fashion show at the fall fair. I imagine a person could become quite fond of a cow, especially one of the prettier breeds. A Holstein can look quite cute with a bit of lipstick and a ribbon here and there  or so my friends tell me. I suspect though that being best friends with a cow or in this case, a chicken, would seem a little odd, especially to a normal person.

There is always something interesting on the radio if you listen hard enough. Did you know that the most expensive brand of coffee has passed through the digestive system of a civet? A civet is a small jungle cat, not something off the assembly line at Honda. Apparently, the cat eats the coffee bean and it drops out the other end with a somewhat different flavour than the sissy beans Juan Valdez peddles to Maxwell House. Kopi Luwak is expensive because the picker must crawl around the jungle on his hands and knees sifting through civet droppings. This brew is one of the few things on a menu where the customer doesn’t care if the server has washed his or her hands. I mean, why bother? Look where it’s been.

I don’t go looking for goofy bits of news. I think they look for me. There are scads of fascinating items in Uncle John’s Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader, a research book that as far as I know is not found on the must read list at the U of T. It appears also to have been overlooked by many of the leading literary scholars of the day. (Literary scholars are folks who take the Complete Works of Shakespeare into the john whenever they plan on being in there for an extended period – like a week.)

Uncle John should be required reading at all institutes of higher learning. Here one finds little titbits of useless information that we can use to impress colleagues at cocktail parties or outside the liquor store at 9:30 while waiting for the door to open.

Did you know that donkeys have the loudest farts in the animal kingdom? Now that is something you don’t read every day. I’m afraid, madam, you may finally have to face the fact that your husband is at best, a distant second. You might want to mention this to your bridge club. Hopefully, the ladies will no longer give him a wide berth whenever they see him on the street.

How Uncle John came up with this fascinating fact is not disclosed, but I imagine it involved days of wandering the countryside with some sort of recording device. Uncle John is a very sick man.

Another interesting fact I picked up, Uranus spins on its side. Did you know that? Mine doesn’t.

In 1994, now that is a while back, German movie ushers beat a man to death for bringing his own popcorn into the theatre. Thank God, he didn’t bring the butter. If you are one of those nervous souls who bite their fingernails during the scary parts, you might want to discuss this with the girl at the box office.

Oh, one more thing. Leave your donkey at home. Even a small donkey with gas can clear a theatre.

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