Saturday, January 24, 2015

Planet of the Chickens

Alektorophobia is the fear of chickens. Chickens kind of freak me out. And if you heed my advice, they’ll freak you out to.

The chicken, or gallus gallus domesticus, which is possibly Latin for “creepy evil bird,” is easily the most terrifying member of the poultry family. They have those crazy-looking, unblinking eyes that can bore a hole through your soul. They make noises that sound satanic. And they’re just so darn nervous and twitchy. They have to be planning something. Probably something diabolical. Their only redeeming quality is deliciousness.

I have never trusted a chicken. It has always seemed to me that given the chance, a chicken wouldn’t think twice about pecking the eyeballs of a naive, unsuspecting human with their little yellow beaks of death. If Hitchcock would have used chickens instead of seagulls in “The Birds,” the movie might have received an “R” rating for excessive creepiness.

A couple of summers ago, my family and I attended the local county fair. After watching my daughter ride some sort of shiny, spinney, lifty thingy about a million times, my wife and I decided it was time to walk around the fairgrounds for a bit and check out some of the buildings. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The very first building we walked into had a “POULTRY” sign painted above the door in black paint. My daughter and wife strolled right in while I hung back filled with a feeling of impending queasiness. Have I mentioned that chickens freak me out?

Everything was relatively normal when we walked through the entrance. The caged birds were “bok-bok-boking” in that sinister-sounding chicken language while they strutted around in the herky-jerky fashion that only they can do. I shudder just thinking about it.

As we approached the epicenter of the building, I remember nervously noting to my wife that there were enough chickens in that building that they could wipe us out if they really wanted to.

I no more than uttered that sentence when a hush fell over the clucking masses. It were as though they heard and understood what I said. The room was dead silent as their twitchy little red-combed heads cocked around to look at us.

It was as if I had inadvertently stumbled across their secret plan to annihilate the human race. I couldn’t get out of that building quick enough. I know the rule states that women and children should be allowed to escape before me, but I felt as though it was of utmost importance that I got to the outside world first because, after all, I had cracked the code. The Pentagon might need me.

For those of you who are familiar with the “Planet of the Apes” movies, I suggest that we have much more to worry about from the average, ordinary, everyday chicken than from any kind of primate revolt. I have done some exhaustive research for this column. Here are just a few little tidbits of information that I gleaned off of the Internet that the general public should be aware of:

• The chicken is the closest living relative to the Tyrannosaurus Rex which is the most terrifying of the dinosaurs according to the 1970s Saturday morning television show “The Land of the Lost.” Don’t let Barney fool you.

• The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds. From a standing start, mine is less than one. That worries me.

• A chicken can travel up to nine miles per hour. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that I cannot walk nine miles in 60 minutes ... so again, I am concerned.

• There are more chickens on Earth than humans. That means that if I were somehow able to improve my mobility to the point where I could cover a 10-mile area in an hour, there’s a good chance that I will run into another chicken.

• Chickens can be cannibalistic. Evidently, these monsters discovered that they are delicious.

It is our own hubris that has brought us to this crossroad. I’m not exactly sure what hubris means, but I’ve always wanted to use that word. Ever since the passing of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Harland Sanders and his military presence (he was a colonel), the chickens have made their plans and patiently waited. The air is thick with the stench of revolution, along with 11 herbs and spices.

I’m afraid it might be too late to prevent a feathered Armageddon. The chickens have already developed a working relationship with the Easter Bunny by supplying him with all the eggs he needs at drastically reduced prices. Think about what might happen if the chickens get in cahoots with the rabbits ... the consequences could be dire and tragic.

You know, now that I think about it, bunnies kind of freak me out too.

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