Monday, February 06, 2017

The Duck Call Experiment

Annimation Cel on Mirror - Jay Johnson
I remember the excitement I had starting this blog.  My desire was to document my first hand,  first time experience living in New York City and doing a Broadway show.  It became a nightly ritual for unwinding after the theatre. The blog was an outlet to tell the stories I saw every day. Most observations were funny because when you are in a state of happiness laughter comes easier. *

If nothing unusual happened at the theatre  my walk home through the streets of Time Square would offer ample material to write about. Of course doing my show in that theatre nightly was always special enough to write about.   I hope one day to read those posts again to perhaps relive the experience.

However, as I was looking back on a recent few posts my blog has taken a bluer-darker turn.

How did  "The World is a Stage" become a political dossier.  I have never been political in my life. In my career I've never done edgy political humor so I was never looking for the political scandal to make jokes about. I wanted to fit into any situation.  When I arrived in California Richard O. Linke told me that the definition of Class: "Being Comfortably at ease in any group".  I don't know if that is textbook but I thought it was something to strive for.  I have spent years as a corporate show entertainer avoiding the conversation of politics.

But, Politics seems unavoidable right now.  It dominates every aspect of social intercourse. It is nearly impossible to avoid, even in a show biz blog.

In hopes of  personal growth beyond the steady drone of politics; I will use this post as a test.

I named it the "Duck Call Experiment".
Theory is: you do not expect turkeys to show up if you are blowing a duck call.
Existentially stated: What you put out into the universe comes back to you.
Millennial explanation: I mean,  when you order something online you, like, get a bunch of other offers to buy something like it. Right?

*Here is my "Duck Call" :
I will start with the story of an actual duck. I find that magicians have the best stories.  
Mike Caveney works with a live chicken on stage and told me this one involving livestock productions. (Magical term ofr pulling an animal out of some impossible place) 
It seems that a friend of his was going to do the "duck bucket" trick at the Castle.  As you might expect that trick involves producing a live duck from an empty bucket.  (No I can't tell you how it works because of the Magicians code of secrecy). It doesn't matter since the story does not involve the production method anyway. 
The magician didn't want to travel with a real duck so he decided to get one when he got to Los Angeles.  The place to get a live duck is Chinatown, so that is where he ended up.  He was directed to a shop keeper with a pen of ducks for sale.  The magician wanted just the right one as far as size and color.  He looked at all of them and found a white one that was just right.  Although the merchant did not understand his reasons for wanting a specific duck, he finally isolated the one the magician wanted.
In one well perfected move he grabbed the duck threw it down on the chopping block quickly cutting off its head saying, "You like me to take off feathers." 
Little did the duck know that he was just moments away from going into Show business.
As you were,


voxleo said...

OMG I love you.

I am half Chinese and remembering the times my Gung Gung would select the fowl we would be having for dinner at just such an establishment. I can see it in my mind like a home video right now. They would have these plastic garbage bins right there next to the chopping block, too, into which they would immediately toss the headless bird so it could thrash about until its kinetic energy expired within instead of making some unimaginable mess of gore if it were not contained. It does take a surprising while, too; there is a reason they say "running around like a chicken without a head."

And now, thanks to you, I had to look up approximately how long it usually takes a headless chicken to stop thrashing, because I was so young that I thought I might be mistaken in thinking back on it. I'd been about to write my own estimate of it lasting at least a whole minute, long enough to have some impatience about it, at least, in my memory of wondering at how long it could POSSIBLY go on while we stood there. But then logically, it seemed like a full minute was a long time for such a small animal to exsanguinate, so I thought maybe I was mistaken or my tender age had it seem to take longer or maybe I was suffering some sort of PTSD over the killing of the thing... At any rate, before committing to that time estimate I decided to give it a Google first.

And thanks to all that, now I have learned something amazing. I was not wrong in my recall of being somewhat impatient for the thrashing to cease; and a minute or more is nowhere near the high mark for headless chicken activity (and I mean VIGOROUS activity, mind you... they are not calm about having lost their heads.) It would seem that a minute or two is normal to maybe less than average time, if the jugular is not severed properly for it to bleed out quickly.

Still, imagine my surprise when I read the following at
"Because most of the basic behaviors of a chicken are controlled by the brainstem and not its brain, and because of automatic nerve responses, a headless chicken can live for a long time. They can continue living for anywhere from a few minutes to a record of 18 months"



This high mark, apparently, is held by "Miracle Mike" who survived a botched attempt at slaughter that missed the jugular but took off most of his head with enough of the lower brain stem remaining that he did not die. Not only that, but this headless chicken made money as a sideshow attraction during that time. There are pictures. And a Youtube video.

And you are now on my bucket list of people I should like to meet someday, but if I don't ever get the chance to shake your hand, THANK YOU. I am forever altered by this awareness of headless chicken longevity, which I might never have come across were it not for your duck call. You are marvelous. What a wonderful world.

(I don't know if the same is true of ducks or not, as I don't remember ever getting one of those... )


voxleo said...

Also, You didn't specify what you thought might result from such an experiment. What do you think? I am curious how "Miracle Mike" fits in with your initial duck call hypothesis...