Keep your eye out for the Easter Chicken this weekend

Ring, ring, ring, ring.

Hay’s Daze: “Hello, Harry’s Pool Hall, who in the hall do you want?”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Oh, I must have a wrong number. I was looking for Hay’s Daze, the purveyor of the often foolish and incomprehensible discourse in the Saturday newspaper.”

Hay’s Daze: “You got him. I was just trying out an old line we used to think was hilarious when we were, like, 10 years old. Still sort of funny, am I right?

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “This is Dr. Reginald Smoot on the line, calling from my office at the Mail Order University of Carrot River, Sask. I wish to take umbrage.”

Hay’s Daze: “Sorry, umbrage isn’t here right now. Would you like to leave a message?”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Your recent column. I read it with a fit of pique.”

Hay’s Daze: “Well perhaps you should have read the whole thing, instead of just peeking.”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “The treatise about birds. Am I or am I not the ongoing resident academic expert associated with this particular newspaper column, readily available for consultation and erudition on all things scientific and otherwise?”

Hay’s Daze: “That seems to be unfortunately true, Reg. Whenever Hay has a moment of weakness or perhaps a migraine.”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Exactly. Then why wasn’t I myself contacted for professional input into the ecological minutiae of the bird populace? You said yourself, you know very little about orthopedics.”

Hay’s Daze: “Well, I didn’t think your correspondence degree in sociology actually qualified you as an expert in just about anything, especially not birds and other…”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Chickens.”

Hay’s Daze: “Pardon?”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Chickens. In your article, you said, and I quote: ‘The most common bird in the world is … the domestic chicken.’ I beg to differ.”

Hay’s Daze: “But it’s true, Reg. I researched that for at least five minutes and Wikipedia said so. And if it’s on the interweb, it must be true. Everybody knows that!”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “You should have consulted me and my PhD. Besides, it’s Easter weekend here in Saskatchewan.”

Hay’s Daze: “Yes, amazingly, it seems to be Easter here in Alberta as well, but I fail to see the connection. What on Earth has Easter got to do with domestic chickens?”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Ah, therein lays the central tenant of my argument, vis-a-vis chickens. You failed to consider Easter chickens in your sweeping statement of commonality.”

Hay’s Daze: “Easter chickens?”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Correct. Easter chickens are far less commonplace than domestic chickens, and therefore should have been mentioned as a caveat in your misleading generalization.”

Hay’s Daze: “Don’t you mean Easter bunnies?”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “My point exactly. The concept of the literal or metaphorical existence of Easter lagomorphs is a sadly perpetuated myth.”

Hay’s Daze: “Lagomorphs? Did someone put something in your Cadbury creamy caramel chocolate Easter eggs, Reggy?”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “All rabbits, including bunnies, are taxonomically members of the lagomorph family, not mammals or rodents, as most of us non-tenured professors know by personal experience out in the vast Prairies of Saskatchewan. Also, and most importantly, they don’t, technically, lay eggs. Especially not chocolate ones.”

Hay’s Daze: “Right, I see where you’re coming from. Easter eggs, Easter chickens …”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Correct. The entire concept of the Easter Bunny and its correlation with fertility and the pagan rites of spring are clearly fallacious. It is the Easter Chicken who is responsible for the traditional obsession with eggs in terms of a purely secular celebration. Chickens are champions when it comes to eggs.”

Hay’s Daze: So you’re saying that giant Easter Bunny at the mall should really be a giant Easter Chicken?”

Dr. Reginald Smoot: “Precisely. And since professors here are chronically underpaid, that’s where I’m going now. To the mall. As soon as I squeeze into this giant chicken costume.”

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

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