A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Smokey's Corner - Entertainment

I love Smoke. I have to confess to it. Talented writer, photographer, reader, artist, all-around creative lunatic.

Here's a Smokey piece titled "Power Struggle With Chickens." It grew out of a conversation we had about chickens over tea and adda mara, one day. It came about as a result of my fervently praying for a change of power in this country. As I've mentioned, I'm an atheist. But, I said to Smoke, I'll pray, I'll even go to church, if this band of thugs, goons, looters, and all-out corrupt lowlifes goes to jail to the last man. Thus, the Monty Python skit at the end.

"Power struggle with chickens" ???? ... ya just never know what you're gonna get from me, do ya?

Here’s an excerpt from a book I’m “reading” right now ... book from the library on cd -- unabridged. The setting is Botswana. Contemporary times. It’s one of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series: Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith. I think the author captures a lot of the thinking and attitudes of ... well, at least the people he met and knew in Botswana. He has certainly captured their humor. I recommend his books.


Mma Makutsi, Secretary of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and cum laude graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College, sat at her desk, staring out through the open door. She preferred to leave the door open when there was nothing happening in the agency (which was most of the time), but it had its drawbacks, as the chickens would wander in and strut about as if they were in a henhouse. She did not like these chickens, for a number of very sound reasons. To begin with, there was something unprofessional about having chickens in a detective agency, and then, quite apart from that, the chickens themselves irritated her profoundly. It was always the same group of chickens: four hens and a dispirited and, she imagined, impotent rooster, who was kept on by the hens out of charity. The rooster was lame and had lost a large proportion of the feathers on one of his wings. He looked defeated, as if he were only too well aware of his loss of status, and he always walked several steps behind the hens themselves, like a royal consort relegated by protocol into a permanent second place.

The hens seemed equally irritated by Mma Makutsi’s presence. It was as if she, rather than they, were the intruder. By rights, this tiny building with its two small windows and its creaky door should be a henhouse, not a detective agency. If they outstared her, perhaps, she would go, and they would be left to perch on the chairs and make their nests in the filing cabinets. That is what the chickens wanted.

“Get out,” said Mma Makutsi, waving a folded-up newspaper at them. "No chickens here! Get out!”

The largest of the hens turned and glared at her, while the rooster merely looked shifty.


Have you ever had a power struggle with chickens? I have. Folks, my life has been rich. Truly. I feel so fortunate. So many experiences.

My grandparents’ in Ireland had chickens (and turkeys) and it was my daily job to feed them, gather the freshly laid eggs, and, with a burlap sack, also gather the bricks of peat that were burned in the stove. I’m old folks. I remember those telephones that were on the wall ... that you see in movies ... where you crank it ... the cord goes to a separate ear piece:

Yes, I remember that type of phone. And, yes, my grandparents had a stove that you burned bricks of peat in for cooking. ‘member that scene in Monty Python’s movie ... I think it was The Meaning of Life ... and one of the characters calls Ireland the only Third World country in Europe?

Back to the chickens ... oh, I had many a power struggle in those days with those chickens! And ... ya know ... you’re a human ... so you think you’re gonna win ... but no. Ya don’t. Because humans have a tendency to get distracted by more interesting things ... but those damn chickens will keep their one brain cell tuned into that one thing they want to do ... and they’ll win every time while your back is turned.

And ... as a small bonus for reading my diversions and meanderings down this far ... a scene from The Meaning of Life:
Chaplain: Let us praise God. O Lord...
Congregation: O Lord...
Chaplain: ...Ooh, You are so big...
Congregation: ...ooh, You are so big...
Chaplain: ...So absolutely huge.
Congregation: ...So absolutely huge.
Chaplain: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Congregation: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Chaplain: Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and...
Congregation: And barefaced flattery.
Chaplain: But You are so strong and, well, just so super.
Congregation: Fantastic.
Humphrey: Amen.
Congregation: Amen.

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