Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mr. Chicken Takes One for the Team

Hello, Darling Readers! Today I interviewed applicants for an internship at our gallery. They were all very good, eager, earnest young faces looking to advance careers with energy and passion for the arts. I was so reminded of myself when I first moved here. One of my first real gigs was as a craft assistant for a television show on PBS. It was the pilot of the show, and we were all excited for the work and the opportunity to work on a national show. (The show shall remain nameless, but it rhymes with “Tonna’s Tay”)

Have you ever worked on a show with craft segments? You haven’t? Well, somewhere behind the scenes are people who feverishly build all the craft “swap outs”, you know, a sweater octopus with 3 legs, a sweater octopus with 5 legs, etc. so the viewer can see what the project will look like as it’s being completed. It’s a crap job, for sure.

The job was made worse by the tyrannical behavior of the director, whose whims were both eccentric and absolute. Examples? “No one says the word ‘brainstorm’ in my presence…EVER!” “I asked for this to be copied on Goldenrod paper and this looks like Sunburst…GET IT RIGHT!” or, my personal favorite: sending a certain minion on a quest throughout the building with a coffee cup and a mission – don’t come back without the sixth mug. That’s right, yours truly, walking into conference rooms saying, “Umm…excuse me…Mr. X has six of these very special mugs and one is missing. Has anyone here seen it?” Arrggh.

I worked with my good friend Lynn and she was smart. She reached her limit and quit. I soldiered on. I could take it, right?

Wrong. Once, at the zenith of the crazy, I was getting ready to go to bed and I heard something in the living room. I crept into the other room and heard a distinct sound. It was a mechanical sound of a rooster. A tinny little “cock-a-doodle-do” (or if you’re in France, “cocorico.”) Up on the mantle in our apartment was a fake rooster. He made of Styrofoam covered with real feathers. He was called Mr. Chicken because he was somewhat ambivalent about being male. He actually looked a lot like the one in the photo.

I had never heard him make sound before. It was clearly coming from him, though. It was a scratchy rooster sound, coming from our heretofore silent display rooster. In the morning I asked my then-husband, “Did you know that Mr. Chicken can talk?” He laughed and said you must’ve been dreaming. No, I was wide awake. We debated whether this was possible, but I had heard it. I held it in my hands while it was making a sound. To prove my point. I ended up taking a long beading needle to Mr. Chicken, trying to prove that inside him was a sporadically functioning sound mechanism. Of course there wasn’t.

Auditory hallucinations - a sure sign you’re under some serious stress.

And who made the ultimate sacrifice? Mr. Chicken…he went down without a sound.

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