My Friend, with Existential Chickens

Existential ChickenI have a super great old friend from college, Jen. She’s a writer (here’s her book) and a journalist. And a mom.

She lives in Des Moines and recently she acquired chickens.

She and her husband and her kids have chickens in their backyard. 

Do you ever look at your friends, when they do something cool/amazing/odd/wonderful/outrageous and think:

“Uh oh.”

Here it comes. The Existential Chicken Crisis.

The other day, my friend Deb was over and she mentioned chili or something and then she said:

“Ah I saw that article you posted on Facebook, what was it? The 10 Foods You Should  Never Eat? And I thought OH NO!! Here I thought I was doing something great, making homemade chili! But I use CANNED TOMATOES! Ah shit. They were on that list.”


Uh oh. Existential Tomato Crisis.

There are times — many times — when I have wished I were a moron. Existential Chicken Crises are definitely one of them.

Oh don’t worry. It’s not a permanent feeling. It’s just passing moment when I think:

“OH wouldn’t it be so much easier if I were an idiot and didn’t notice ANYTHING at all and could just work as a waiter forever, and then come home and roll around mindlessly on my Made in China sectional, right after I put ALL of the wrappers from my fast food — include the recyclable and compostable ones — in the trash can?

Then I have  to say no to myself. My days of waiting tables and eating quesadillas at midnight — for the most part– are over. That’s fine with me.

It’s just then I have to DEAL with the new information. I have to DECIDE: am I going to be a person who hosts chickens in MY backyard, or am I going to keep buying them from the chicken factory?

Or something in between.

Once new information seeps in, it makes just living a decent life a tussle.

I don’t think it’s keeping up with the Joneses so much. It’s keeping up following our own ideology: what our family wants to be.

Existential Chicken Crisis commence.