ADAPTING TO ADOPTING
I've used the practice of "adoption" in my work for almost 40 years now. I've adopted a girl, a boy, a cow, a couple of roads and now I'm asking you (my community) to adopt a bunch of chickens. It's all consistent work. But this is the first time I've asked others to take on the responsibility of adoption. And so it was, in structuring this piece I call ROOST X, that I went about asking my chicken farmer friends if they would sell me some chickens? Turns out a full grown "roosting" chicken can be a hard thing to purchase. All my buddys' birds were spoken for. Fancy French chef's were destined to serve up these birds. What to do? I put the word out and I got one name- Murray.
I placed a couple of calls and ended up in Murray's office. It was like visiting the don in the back of a Mulberry St. social club. Every eye in the room sized me up. I introduced myself as the "artist" with the church and shul over in Glen Wild. Murray didn't let on, but I think he knew who I was. I explained my piece to Murray as out of the corner of my eye, a guy snickered on the couch. I think when I said "artist" Murray thought I wanted to do some Youtube chicken snuff video. When I said adopt Murray's eye's lit up and he said "Sure. $2 per bird. We'll loan you the boxes. You can pick 'em up on Friday." Damn. I couldn't believe how easy it was. What could go wrong?
Today I picked up two yellow plastic crates of chickens. 24 grimy white chickens were stuffed in slippery, shit covered crates. A large guy lifted them right off the tractor trailer bed and and tossed 'em in the back of my truck. I thanked, tipped him and took off before I puked. The smell on the hottest day of the year, just on the loading dock, was overpowering. I can't imagine what it was like inside. These workers were doing a really nasty job for our chicken dinners. I told the guy i had a lot of respect for him and he flashed me the peace sign.
Now here's where the piece takes a turn. Turns out these hens are specifically bred to grow really fast, develop all kinds of health issues and essentially blow up so large that their legs will break under the weight of their giant breasts. In my, albeit well intentioned act of saving them from the slaughterhouse, providing them with a cool open space, with plenty of food and water, I may have caused more harm than good. Genetic engineering has made this adoption very problematic. But then again..........The show hasn't even opened yet. The girls are safe in the shul and tonight I'm delivering six of those fancy French roosters into their midst. I've already changed the official document to actually encourage you kill your adopted bird. So I hope that clarifies things. Hope to see everybody tomorrow at 6pm.