I’m here for the plastic chicken

My friend Tom (aka.,”The Blogfodder”) sent me a link to Everything Must Go the other day. I gave it a quick peek on Thursday, but it wasn’t until I took a closer look today that I was struck by the sheer genius of Chappell Ellison’s idea.

In a nutshell: She has decided to de-clutter her New York apartment, so she’s started a blog about the stuff she’s giving away. The first person who leaves a comment saying “I want it” gets it. For free! With one caveat.

I will not mail anything — not only do I want to avoid post offices, but I also want this to be as personal of an interaction as possible. So if you don’t live in the New York City area, hopefully you have a friend here who will be happy to shake my hand, receive the object, and get it to you.”

I was crushed at first. I live 1,200 miles from New York City. And although I have three friends there—a TV producer, a magazine executive, and an acquisition editor—I wouldn’t feel right about asking them to pick up a Strong Man Figurine (Condition: A little banged up) …

… a monkey finger puppet from an ex (Condition: good as new) …

… or a Chicken That Cannot Stand.

But then I hatched a brilliant idea (pardon the pun): Why not just GO to New York City and retrieve my loot, in person? My last visit was in 1997 — and Esteban’s been making noise about going back to his old haunts. Plus, I met a New Yorker in Paris last March who invited me to stop by his two Irish bars. (Thanks, Dan!)

“Wanna go to New York for a long weekend?” I asked Esteban tonight. His response surprised me. “I priced it out a couple of weeks ago. It’s cheaper to go to Paris for a week.”

Really?! Yes, really. He showed me the math. (Assumptions: N=4 is possible, Ψ=New York, and β=Paris.)

Just kidding. That’s actually the Dirac equation of nonrelativistic limit and relativistic covariance from quantum mechanics. (I posted it just for yuks; I’m more of a string theorist, myself.)

Seriously, though … I told Esteban about the Strong Man Figurine and the Monkey Finger Puppet and the Plastic Chicken That Cannot Stand. And you know what he said? “I’m sure you can find a plastic chicken in Paris.”

So it would seem that once again our travel path is leading to Paris.

I can hardly wait until the guy at immigration asks me, “What is the purpose of your visit?” I will look him straight in the eye and I’ll say, “I’m here for the plastic chicken.”


  1. Darn it. I thought you were going to say you’re coming to NY! I live in Pelham, just a half hour from the city by train. Oh well. Paris does sound better…and I can always go pick up the Chicken, Monkey and Strong Man for you while you photograph gay Paree. 🙂

    • Are you SERIOUS?! Dagnabbit! Now I’ll have to reconsider the whole New-York-Versus-Paris thing! It’s one thing to pass up a Strong Man and a Monkey Finger Puppet. But a friend in New York? As the commercials say … that’s priceless. Well, I like you so much that I’ll let you have the plastic chicken. 🙂

  2. The chicken made me chuckle, but the string theory made me laugh out loud. Another thing we have in common. (I wrote a piece about physics on March 14th – Pi Day – which would show you what I mean.)

    Thanks for a joyously silly post!

    • Just read your post about Pi, DB. Good show! Eloquent, literate, hilarious. I share your fear of maths: At university, I had to leave the pre-med program because I choked on calculus. I eventually concluded that my brain was physically incapable of grasping the concepts, and I decided to become a writer instead. Probably a good thing for the poor people who would otherwise have become my patients …

      • Well, you got further than I did, both with maths and with medicine. (I posted a reply to you on my Pi post too.)

        Meanwhile, I’m sure there’s a joke waiting to be told along the lines of ‘Why did the Plastic Chicken That Cannot Stand cross the Pond’…

      • Why did the Plastic Chicken That Cannot Stand cross the Pond? To get to the other side and join its Scottish kin, naturally! 🙂

  3. Calculus defeated me too 🙂 I was horrified to find how much maths there was in Geology after I had chosen it for a degree. That maths exam was the only test I failed – I took it into the back yard and shot the darn thing full of arrows! Now I’m a runologist, studying a writing system which doesn’t even *have* numbers 😀

  4. Knotrune! I *love* the idea of taking an exam out back and shooting it full of arrows! (What kind of bow do you have, anyway? Mine’s a maple flat bow, handmade. It draws at 35 pounds so I can’t shoot with it for very long, but I sure do enjoy the satisfaction of hearing the arrow fly. And if it actually hits something, all the better.) I also love the idea of a language that has no numbers. But then I suppose I’d have to pay for my groceries with words …

    Anyway, great to hear from you!

    • Just a fibreglass basic bow, 25 pounds. I haven’t been able to use it for years since getting arthritis, but I have used a longbow at re-enactment events too, back when I was young 🙂

      The language had numbers, just no symbols from then other than your notched tally stick (except for Gotland in the later middle ages) so you had to write seven rather than 7 for example.

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