Last night Wilonsky and I co-moderated the GLBT Chamber's mayoral debate forum, a rather tony affair, as these things go, at the Cityplace Conference and Event Center. It so happened the day before I had attended the "A Peep at the Coops" tour in East Dallas, so I had chickens on my mind.
Confession: I always have chickens on my mind. My wife is a major chicken-keeper. If you think of this in terms of the zoo, I'm the guy you see over in the corner of the cage in rubber boots and coveralls with a hose in one hand and some kind of gnarly-looking scraping implement in the other. Oh, joy.
So two-thirds of the way through, I blurted out an un-scripted question: "What do you think of people in the city who keep chickens in their backyards?"
I was halfway hoping they would all say, "They should be arrested." But they did not, and what they did say was interesting -- sort of revealing, really.
David Kunkle was funny. Mike Rawlings was genial. Ron Natinsky was midway between perplexed and pissed. And Ed Okpa didn't say anything -- for some reason, he just up and fled the room at 7, insisting he had somewhere else to be.
Kunkle started by saying, "I live in East Dallas, so I have some experience with the urban chick phenomenon." He goes on to say, "I'm in favor of the chicks as opposed to the roosters." Wilonsky suggested that should have been Kunkle's campaign slogan.
Rawlings said, "Believe it or not my neighbors have roosters, and whenever I go out for a walk it's kind of pleasant to me, so it's not a big issue."
Natinsky, who thought the affair ended at 7 and not 7:30 and was trying to get us to wrap it up, said, "I'm staying around for a question like that?"
He went on: "We do have a noise ordinance and a public disturbance ordinance. I'm sure we have some rule that covers chickens."
Actually we do -- the Laura Miller Memorial Anti-Rooster Law. You can have chickens but not roosters inside the city limits. So, way to go, Rawlings: You just outted your neighbors. They can expect the City of Dallas Anti-Rooster SWAT Team any day now.
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Chicken-keeping. It actually tells you quite a lot about a guy.