Why Does A Chicken Cross the Road?

Lynford Turner

© Copyright 2007 by Lynford Turner


In the past I’ve received several emails from friends describing the most recent information regarding the question as to why a chicken crosses the road. They'd always given some made up version as a joke to provide a chuckle rather than the actual reason. Obviously there had never been a genuine scientific investigation leading to a satisfactory explaination. I felt the original question went unanswered because no one that I’d known had ever bothered to ask a chicken.

Several years have gone by since I first heard the question but still yet there’re folks out there who continue to ask and then provide some silly answer as to why a chicken crosses the road. I’ve always felt it was unfair to the chickens because most of the jokesters think all chickens are a clutch of dumb clucks. It had occurred to me that with all the tens of millions of chickens in the world there should be at least one that could actually communicate in some manner with a human.

Even then I doubtfully expected to find a chicken that possessed the capability that would give a qualified explanation without exhibiting some amount of bias. Realizing the difficulty in finding a chicken that could truly communicate with me, then, how could I positively have been certain that he/she spoke for all chickens or just for his/her self? Would a chicken that was capable of communicating with a human have an understanding of the thought processes of a lesser fowl?

It had occurred to me that based on the laws of probability I could find that one chicken who would at least give some kind of reasonable answer to the long unanswered question. I’d given a lot of thought as to what kind of an environment the correct chicken might live in. That would be critical toward my getting a meaningful answer when I ask the big question. For example, the chicken would had to have been hutched in a location where it was free to cross a road. Obviously, It couldn't be some old hen that spends her time laying eggs in a cage for an egg producer down in Arkansas.

I anticipated the right chicken had to be somewhat of a loner. Loners do a lot of thinking on their own because they don’t care for a close association with others. A heavy thinker would be likely to give a less biased reason for why they cross the road. Then on the other hand, a heavy thinker would be more likely to give an answer from a more elevated perspective and not encompass the same thinking as say, well, some old hen who is always chasing another chicken for the worm it found beneath a twig. Perhaps any answer would be better than no answer at all. I’d assumed first of all that I would find a chicken that could somehow communicate with me and be willing to kindly answer my questions.

That’s when I began my quest to find the right chicken. First I advertised in several farm magazines. After exchanging emails and phone calls from the many replies I discovered that most were simple-minded jokesters claiming they could read the mind of a chicken and would sell me the information for a fee. It occurred to me that maybe the printed ads were not the best way to find the right chicken. Perhaps a chicken with the ability to communicate with humans would be secretly pecking the keys finding some entertainment using the Internet!

I viewed hundreds of chat threads trying to determine which, if any, might have a chicken chatter on board. After all, wouldn't it be great if an Internet chat thread produced a chicken that was able to communicate? What a perfect way to find the right chicken!

Immediately I set up a chat thread, which I named “Chicken Communiqué.” “A Chat Line Designed Exclusively For Communicating Chickens.” Weeks went by with no real luck. I had several members on board with names like “Smart Chick”, “Wise Cluck,” “chickery chick,” Friendlyfowl,” “Bigcock,” Oldhen,” “youngchick,” “Cockofthewalk,” and many, many more. None of these members exhibited realism, just pretense of being a chicken.

Many months later and long into the investigation I’d come to the conclusion that my theory, based on the law of averages was incorrect, maybe there aren't any chickens out there that would be able to communicate with a human. Living in the country had given me greater insights into the lives of chickens but it had not been a change leading me to the success I’d striven for. Well, at least not until a few weeks ago.

I was walking down a country lane when I heard somebody singing. The voice was definitely not human and yet the words were very distinct. I looked about in the trees expecting to find a lost parrot. I found nothing. The lyrics of the song connected me to the long past, possibly the late forties, to some popular tune of the day. Still yet there was something familiar about the lyrics that haunted me. It was a simple one-verse ditty that went like this:

Chickery-chick, Cha La, Cha La, Check-a-la-rom-a-ly, ana-ba-nan-ah-ca, pol-ah-ca-wal-ah-ca, can't you see? Chickery-chick is me!”

Several weeks later, with the words still ringing in my ears, I theorized the ditty might contain more than just a simple meaning.

Down the lane about half a mile, near the highway, is a farmer who raises chickens. On a hunch I began a casually walk around that area while listening for any unusual sounds. This might sound silly but I had the thought that perhaps I’d find a talking parrot or, who knows, perhaps a talking chicken?

While walking down the road I heard a dog bark announcing my presence. Most everybody has a dog here in the farm country and most are very friendly. As I came closer to the farmhouse the dog came running to greet me. He wagged his tail as he presented his best most meaningful bark as if to say, I’m supposed to do this so don't be alarmed, I’m really a nice dog. By the time I’d walked past the entrance gate the dog was my old buddy, running alongside me still wagging his tail. Being very friendly the old hound dog occasionally turned to look at me and express what appeared to be a smile. I knew right away I had a new friend.

Up ahead were several chickens scratching in the weeds beside the road. As the old hound dog and I walked by I jokingly asked, “Which one of you girls can talk?” Without paying further attention to the chickens we walked on. Then a voice came from behind, “Yes! I can talk! Can you cluck like a chicken?” The voice had the same vocal output that I’d heard weeks before when it sang the little ditty back up the road. I turned and looked at the chickens. They were all looking at me so I asked; “Which one of you ladies is Chickery Chick?” It was just a hunch but I got an immediate reply. One of the girls stepped forward and said; “I’m Chickery Chick, what do you want with me?” I told her that I’d heard her singing the little song several weeks ago and I wondered if it really was a chicken or maybe somebody's lost parrot.

Good heavens,” said Chickery Chick, “surely you would know the difference between a parrot and a chickens voice.” I said that I thought maybe a parrot was imitating a chicken. Chickery Chick appeared very friendly and she seemed to be at ease with the old hound dog standing nearby. Together the three of us walked on down the road.

As we approached the highway intersection I thought of asking her right out why a chicken crosses the road. Because I was somewhat concerned that she would tell me it was none of my business, I decided on another approach. Speaking soft and slowly, trying very hard not to appear anxious I asked Chickery Chick if she would mind giving me a short interview. She jerked her head in a variety of directions while giving me a complete re-inspection. This was followed by a moment of silence then she asks, "So you just want an interview? What news service are you with?" The last thing I expected to find was an intelligent chicken that would query my purpose and perhaps haggle with me intellectually!

Thinking for a second I responded: "Just a personal interest, I noticed that you ladies were on the opposite side of the road from the farm house and”....."Oh Gawd!!!".. Said Chickery! "You're not one of those folks who keep asking me about Why A Chicken Crosses The Road are you?" Being caught completely off guard by her question, not to mention that I was actually guilty of the intent to ask the cliché question she so feared, I immediately changed my intended question to hide my embarrassment. Feebly I slowly constructed a response with a question mark at the end. I said: "Why no, of course not. I expect you have been asked stupid questions like that quite often. No, you see, I expect that you're a rather special chicken and I wondered if I could have a few minutes of your time before you crossed the road? "Good Grief!" said Chickery, "Never before have I seen such a weak kneed individual. You're lying to me! You were preparing to ask me why I was going to cross the road. Why didn’t you just speak up and ask?"

I’ll bet you're somehow connected with the guy who opened up that chat thread.” Said Chickery Chick. “Why yes,” I replied, “How did you know about that?” “Holy red worms” said Chickery, “I’ve spent hours laughing at how dumb the comments were on that thread. There were all those idiots trying to act like a chicken and little did anybody know that I was a real chicken acting like one of those dummies who were trying to act like a chicken. Why on earth after all the trouble you've gone to do you make such a cowardly approach to asking the question?”

She was right! I'd actually chickened out when challenged for the truth! In an apologetic manner I admitted to Chickery that she was correct. Yes, I really did want to know why she was going to cross the road. Rarely do you see a chicken that transmits genuine facial expressions, indeed, this chicken was special. She was plainly disgusted but she displayed a sympathetic expression as well.

We had already stepped into the crosswalk when Chickery said: "Very well, I'll tell you why I'm crossing the road. You see..........She looked up and down the street, Wow! Said Chickery, the traffic has suddenly increased hasn't it? Well, as I was beginning to say...Awk! LOOK OUT! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! There was a sudden squish and the chicken was lying there on the pavement smashed flat. I was just about to get the answer to the big question, golly, maybe the world will never know why a chicken crosses the road.

The old dog brushed up alongside my pant leg and looked down at the chicken. There seemed to be a sorry look on his face as though he’d lost a real friend. I stroked his head a few times and then we both headed back towards the farmers house. As I walked by the house the old hound dog jumped upon the front porch and slid through the hole in the screen door. I figured he preferred to mourn alone.

I found the farmer in the barn lot working on a tractor. I introduced myself and offered my condolences for the squished chicken. The farmer said, “Oh don't be too upset about that chicken, there's plenty more over at the chicken house.” I said; “Sir, that was an intelligent chicken who actually talked. We were having an enjoyable conversation when the accident happened. How can you dismiss her demise so easily?” The farmer raised his head and then stood up straight while wiping the perspiration from his brow, “Well,” Said the farmer, “That old hen couldn't talk but she shore was a good actress.” “What do you mean she couldn't talk?” I asked. Looking me straight in the eye the farmer said; “Just what I said feller, she couldn't talk. Her and that lazy old hound always ran around together getting folks upset over nothing. It's the old hounds fault that you were made a fool of. I’ll bet he’s in the house right now on one of those dern chat lines making post to people and nobody knows they’re communicating with an old hound dog pretending to be a human that’s imitating a chicken. That old hounds got an IQ of 220.”

Sir!” I said to the farmer, “that chicken was about to tell me why a chicken crosses the road! I’ve been searching for a chicken like her for years and now I’ve lost the opportunity because she was run down by an automobile!” “No, no” said the farmer, "Haven't you heard what I said? It’s the old dog that’s making the fool of you! That dern hound dog is a ventriloquist!”

As I left the farmer in the barn lot I walked by the house enroute to the front gate. From inside the house I heard laughter; I knew it was that hound dog laughing at me! The front door opened and the old hound dog came outside. He’d been laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes. Finally he spoke up and said; “I guess I owe you an apology mister. You see I found out on the “Chicken Communiqué” that you were looking for a chicken that could talk. For months I’ve been waiting for you to come strolling back down the lane so I could give you the answer you're looking for, you know, “Why does a chicken cross the road?” I was just trying to help you out but as you know, if something can go wrong it probably will.”

I hurriedly left the farmers house leaving the dog standing there with a grin on his face. Having been made a fool of by a talking dog my self-embarrassment was overwhelming. Enroute home I was so mixed up I didn’t know what to believe, how could it be that I was tricked by an old hound dog who could talk? More insulting yet, a hound dog ventriloquist? Never, I must be nuts.

I stumbled on down the lane toward home still unable to grasp the entire predicament I’d just experienced. As I entered the yard through my front gate I saw two chickens standing near the porch. One of them said; “Hello! “My name is Smart Chick and this is my attorney, Big Cock. Some time ago the two of us joined your thread, “Chicken Communiqué. I understand you're looking for a chicken that can tell you why a chicken crosses the road? Big Cock here has the necessary documents ready to seal the deal after we come to an agreement regarding my initial fee and royalties.”

I screamed! “I can’t stand any more of this; “GET TO *^#@# OuttaHereYou &*^ #@ ^%$**##@”

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