Editor's Note: Robert Ganshorn was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front at Purdue University before creating one of the first Public Television documentaries on gay lifestyles broadcast during his graduate studies at Indiana University. Failing to become the Gay Walter Cronkite, he is retired from Ganshorn & Associates in Chicago and now lives in Thailand with his loving partner of 31 years.
My two Hoosier Republican ladies each sent me a story, so I don't know which one to blame. They attempt with their gentle (often recycled) humor to throw an elbow in my gut that I am a wide eyed Liberal that they love in spite of my "cockeyed" views. I play back with them, but this time what they sent me as a joke rekindled my memory of a story from my childhood that was always in the back of my mind waiting to be used.
First, their "joke" to me and then my response.
A Good One!
John was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers called "pullets" and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs. He kept records and any rooster not pulling his weight went in to the soup pot and was replaced. As it was time consuming to watch chickens he placed tiny bells around the necks of the roosters. Each bell had a different tone so he could tell from a distance which rooster was performing. Now, he could sit back and fill out an efficiency report just from the sound.
John's favorite rooster, nicknamed "Old Butch," was a very fine specimen, but one morning shortly after the bell program began John observed that Old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all. When he went to investigate he saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets, hearing the roosters coming, could run for cover. To John's amazement, Old Butch had his bell in his beak so it could not ring. He would sneak up on a pullet and enjoy himself and move on to the next.
John was intensely proud of Old Butch and entered him in the Marion county fair where his technique became an overnight sensation.
The judges awarded him the "No Bell Piece Prize," the "Pulletsuprise" and was saluted as the best politician in the county.
That's right, politician. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two coveted awards by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention. Vote carefully this year...the bells are not always audible.
Well, I was taken aback by this sudden twist in a foul copulation. I thought about bells, chickens, "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and remembered a story from my childhood I quickly sent them back:
And the bells are not always even there. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were no bells and no fear?
Josef Stalin had a conference of Soviet Leaders at the Kremlin in the mid 1930's. In a cage at the end of the conference table was a single chicken, and none of the other leaders could imagine the point the eccentric, all powerful Stalin was trying to make. After keeping his senior leaders waiting for his arrival the "Man of Steel" Stalin had a quick announcement: "Comrades, I am going to give a demonstration of how to treat the Russian People."
With that, Stalin went to the cage and plucked the bird clean while it was alive. The bird hysterically squealed and squirmed as Stalin plucked its feathers away and let them fall to the floor. He began a tirade of complaints against each of his ministers as he did this which left each man scared to death for his own survival. The leaders could not believe their eyes although none of them were strangers to cruelty, that the bird could long survive this. Once plucked, Stalin released the bloodied, fear ridden animal, reached into his greatcoat and threw a few kernels of corn on the floor that the bird slowly and quietly ate at the feet of its torturer.
Stalin proceeded to the rest of his demands of his leaders. Frequently he stood and paced as he walked describing which food rations would be cut, the number of people who were to be arrested in his purges, and the instructions how they were to be slaughtered, tortured, or merely sent to Siberia to be worked to death. As he walked, following him closely was the chicken.
The message was clear. Strip people of all health, prosperity, security, humanity and keep them fearful, and they will follow you.
I know you are sending me a joke, of course, but come this election time I am not going to be a frightened chicken.