The chicken wasn't magnificent or great, not really. All he wanted to do was just cross the damn road, for his own reasons, and be left alone. It wasn't an action guided by the Hand of God, nor was it some government plot devised to lull the masses into submission. The chicken was there, the road was there and whatever was on the other side was important only to the chicken; he was minding his own business. It was the farmer, sitting in his crickety old wooden rocking chair, his lazy old dog at his feet enjoying the warm sun, who made note of the chicken crossing the road and thought to himself, "Now, that chicken has got some balls. Could get hit by traffic, but he's out there on a mission, it looks like. Hmm... this might be a good conversation piece. I'll see Frank tomorrow, at the diner, an' open up with, 'Hey, Frank, why did the chicken cross the road?' And he'll say, 'Dunno, Arlo. Why?' An' I'll say, 'Well, to get to the other side, of course.' Heheh... good joke. Frank'll like that one." The chicken wasn't special in any particular way, but because old Arlo fancied himself a good joke-teller, that chicken will live in infamy and people will forever speculate about why. Trust me. Chickens don't think that far ahead, nor do they see themselves as heroes of lore, worthy of timeless jokes and bad puns.

I once told someone that every single person on Earth has a fascinating story to tell. They may not be articulate or intelligent enough to lay the story out and make it interesting, but if you take the sum of a person's experiences and string them together in a book.... wow. The things you could learn about humanity. Autobiographies barely scratch the surface of my point here. As Shakespeare said, "All the world is a stage..." What makes a person worthy of mention isn't their inherent nature as "a great man in history." Oh, no, it's the story-teller that happened to take note of that person. The historians make people great. Caesar was just trying to run a country. Einstein was just doing his thing with math and physics. Armstrong was just being an astronaut. Freud was just trying to figure people out. The people who are celebrated as being "great" most likely didn't consider themselves to be all that wonderful when they were doing whatever it was they're known for, probably. I'm sure there are a few minor exceptions, people "destined for greatness", but I'm willing the bet that the vast majority of those who live in infamy thought of themselves as merely people doing what they like to do or are best at, not realizing the scope of their actions- or who was watching at the time.

In the long run, it's not that the chicken was special for crossing the road. It's that Arlo was around to witness the event and share it with someone else. That is what makes people, or events, great. Someone had the wherewithall to make note of it and pass it on to someone who might appreciate it.

The world is already a better place. It's going along just as it should, kinda like that chicken, and just doing its thing. As soon as more of us stop and pay attention to that, the world will seem like a better place.

This is why I often tell my friends, and strangers, too, that "It's all a matter of perspective." I try to keep my eyes open and see what that crazy chicken is going to do next.

"I envisage a day when chickens can cross the road without having their motives called into question"

-- Anon

This used to be the signature file quote of a colleague of mine, and it never failed to make me laugh. For some reason its profound silliness acts on me like a good slap on the side of a faulty monitor - it brings the world back into focus.

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