Wolfsie: Playing chicken
Sunday, August 24, 2014 3:23 PM
I'm a city boy, born and bred just outside of Manhattan. In fact, the phrase "born and bred" is the closest I've ever come to talking like a farmer. My wife and I went to the State Fair this summer and she spent a lot of time in the poultry barn looking at baby chicks, saying, "How cute," while I was out on the Midway looking at you-know-what on a stick, saying, "How delicious."
Curiosity led me to buy a couple of magazines the next day, Chickens and Poultry World, both dedicated to the proper care and breeding of our feathery friends. In the intro to one of the publications, the editor, Terry Beebe, is seen holding his buddy, a handsome Springer Spaniel. I guess Terry has learned that you attract more chicks holding a dog than a rooster.
By the way, one of the covers has the teaser "12 Tips to Successful Brooding," which was once on the front page of my grandmother's edition of Jewish Homemaker. Also on the cover is the question: "Too Old to Lay?" (That might have been stolen from Cosmo or Playboy.)
Once the reader gets inside the magazines, let the pun begin. There are puns I am sure have made their way into every edition over the years. Let's face it, there are only so many chicken plays-on-words you can come up with to headline your stories or to name various sections of the periodical.
EGGCITING RECIPES (How eggsasperating. And during Easter we see this pun in every newspaper a hundred times. Enough, already.)
ONLINE EGGSTRAS and EGGSCLUSIVES (This section directs you to websites where there are a dozen more dreadful puns. You can also find a half dozen.)
CHICK OR TREAT! (How to dress up as a pullet or hen for Halloween. I'm serious. Is that scary, or what?)
A CHICKEN IN EVERY SHOT (Don't have an adorable cat? Here's some advice on how to capture your capon on camera.)
CHICKEN SCRATCH (An article featuring gifts and gadgets for chicken lovers with the subtitle: "Everything Our Readers Are Crowing About." Here, you can buy an app that figures how many eggs annually to expect from your flock. Yes, it's called a cluck-u-lator.)
GET THE SHELL OUT OF HERE (How to ensure a durable product from each breed. This pun is also used in Turtle Monthly...like every issue.)
COOPED UP (Step-by-step instructions on how to build a chicken pen. We'll see this one again, probably every time they have a story on how to build a chicken pen.)
FOWL LANGUAGE (A glossary of important terminology for bird lovers. Actually, I like that pun. Permission to use is granted.)
Both publications address readers' questions in a feature called "Q and A" in one magazine and "Chicken Chat" in the other. I think a better title would be, "Can We Squawk?" Jeesh, I can't believe I'm now making stupid puns. Of course, I know nothing about chickens, but I would like to take a stab at some of the answers. These are actual questions from the articles.
Q: I have a chicken that seems dull and bored. Her head is down and she is all fluffed up. Do you know what that means?
A: Yes, it is definitely a chicken.
Q: I raise quail. Recently I found one with half of its head missing. What should I do?
A: It's too late.
Q: I am considering hatching chickens myself for the first time. Any suggestions?
A: No, but if you are successful, we'd like to interview you and your husband.
Have a pheasant day!
Dick Wolfsie is a syndicated columnist, Indianapolis TV personality and author.