The Chicken and the Snowman

Clambering out of the cellars on Clinton Street this morning, I am met by the first snow of this year’s winter. It’s a tiny corner-of-the-eye snow, meagre, if not mean, and tentative. By the time I’m out of the subway at South Ferry there’s more of it, though the character hasn’t changed. Tiny flakes that vanish without touching the skin.

In high school we inevitably made fallout jokes when the first snow inevitably came around (“Hey, it’s snowing! I think … check back in a few days and we’ll see”). The notion of MAD – that’s Mutual Assured Destruction, for those born after 1975 – was visceral back in those days, though some flavor of nuclear catastrophe seems likelier now than it ever was then. This makes it somehow much more remote, and also markedly less amusing.

Chicago Pile 1 - Ye Olde Nuclear FissionePerhaps it’s something in the air. From Jennifer’s History and Stuff, I find that today is the 61st anniversary of the first nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago. An auspicious day, if you like that sort of thing.

The real secret war, though, won’t be fought with nukes. It’s Us v. The Chickens. When cholesterol first became relevant in my life a few years ago (Me: “How much???”), my health plan McDoctor warned me off the Four Evils: milk, eggs, red meat and chicken skin. Later I developed my theory that

(a) chickens are actually fruit, since you have to peel them to get at the good part; and

(b) cholesterol is a fiendishly clever weapon developed by The Chickens to destroy us all with breakfast.

Obviously they’ve got The Cows helping out too, but if you’ve spent any time around chickens and cows you know who’s behind all this. Cows just don’t have that vicious ornery streak. Semper Buck Buck Buck.

About Linus

The man behind the curtain. But couldn't we get a nicer curtain?
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