Monday, February 23, 2009

My true life's work

I have written about The Chicken Game before, back on the old blog. I have to admit, that after I hit “post” on that entry, I entertained a secret desire that I would get hundreds of comments from people begging me to mail them a Mr. Pickles immediately. Inexplicably, this did not happen.

But for those of you who either did not read about TCG back in the day or read about it but have forgotten it (I realize this is essentially everyone), I will summarize it for you here.

This is Mr. Pickles.

MrPickles

He is a small yellow chicken. He was known simply as “the chicken” until The Doktah, a class and lab-mate of mine from grad school, christened him. And just so you know, the little one is called “Mr. Pickles brother, Mr. Pickles.”

MrPicklesAndBro

So to play TCG, what you do is, you take Mr. Pickles and you hide him somewhere. The hiding place should be such that Mr. Pickles is not immediately visible to the chicken recipient, but should be a place the chicken recipient comes across often. In college, popular hiding places among me and my housemates were boxes of cereal

Cereal

the sugar bowl

Sugar bowl 2

the fridge

Fridge

and the medicine chest.

Medicine chest

When I played TCG with The Doktah, we hid Mr. Pickles in other sorts of places like bags of centrifuge tubes, centrifuge tube racks, and the actual centrifuge. The best lab hiding place of all time was The Doktah’s; she put Mr. Pickles into a centrifuge tube and then properly labeled it as “Mr. Pickles, Feb 5, 2002.” (Centrifuges and centrifuge tubes play an enormous role in the modern biological laboratory in case you didn’t guess.)

I have been known to secrete a Mr. Pickles in people’s coat pockets, purses, and shoes. I often tuck a Mr. Pickles inside the wedding gifts of my fellow Chicken Game players. I leave them behind at people’s homes when I visit. I have also used my friends’ cameras to take surreptitious photos of Mr. Pickles, and I convinced my friend L’s wedding photographer to take a picture of Mr. Pickles at the DJ station. That photo made L’s day when she saw the proofs, weeks later.

Once you start playing The Chicken Game, you will find it difficult to keep quiet while you wait for the chicken recipient to find the chicken, but – and I can’t stress this enough – it is absolutely critical that you do so. You may not, under any circumstances, ask leading questions like, “So, have you had cereal lately? Maybe you should have some now!” The element of surprise is the secret to a successful Chicken Game.

I know what you are all thinking. You are all thinking, “What do you mean, ‘Once you start playing The Chicken Game’? Why would I want to start playing The Chicken Game? It sounds phenomenally stupid.” But here’s the thing: The Chicken Game is awesome. Really! You have no idea how much fun it is to unexpectedly find this little guy

MrPickles

in your cereal bowl. So don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

Why am I bringing this all up now? Well, months ago, Swistle blogged about a book called Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same, and I got all excited. See, my former housemates gave that book to me because when they obviously had to buy it for me when they saw it in the bookstore. And as a sponsor of pay-it-forward contests, Swistle already has a history of getting strangers from the internet to mail things to each other, and Swistle has a vastly larger readership than I do. Thus, I thought to myself, “What if I got Swistle to blog about The Chicken Game, and her readers started to play it, and it became an INTERNET PHENOMENON?” I emailed Swistle immediately. I was a bit overexcited about the whole INTERNET PHENOMENON possibility, and the email therefore included a few more exclamation points than was perhaps wise, so I had to follow up with an email explaining that I am not, in fact, a crazy person. Fortunately, Swistle has been known to get overexcited herself and did not hold my many exclamation points or all caps – did I mention the plethora of all caps? – against me.

So Swistle thought it was a great idea, and together we concocted a plan. I would mail her some chickens. She would play The Chicken Game at home, document it with photos, and then, at a predetermined date, she would write about it and also link to my post about The Chicken Game. And then people all over the world would start playing The Chicken Game in their own homes and it will become an INTERNET PHENOMENON.

Swistle and I discussed how best to exploit the INTERNET PHENOMENON-ability of The Chicken Game, and have decided that the photos of Mr. Pickles are the key. So I will start a Flickr Group for TCG photos once I figure out how that works. But bloggers could also choose to include a photo of Mr. Pickles in their blog posts, or just include Mr. Pickles in a photo of something else, without comment, much like the snail’s daily appearances in Blue’s Clues. (Item: I did not know about the Blue’s Clues snail until Swistle suggested this Chicken Game tactic.)

I should probably mention that the chickens are readily available by the dozen at craft stores in the weeks leading up to Easter. I get mine at Michael’s. And, while the chickens do come in other colors, any color but yellow is unnatural and wrong.

I’d also like to mention here that when Swistle and I were first emailing about this, she asked if we should wait until closer to Easter to post about it so that people would be able to acquire their own Mr. Pickleses, and I said we could not possibly wait that long. And yet, here we are. Lent starts on Wednesday. Procrastinators, unite! We’ll work out the organizational details later.

If all goes well, at some point in the future someone will email me to tell me about the awesome new game they learned about on the internet. And then my life’s work will be complete.

39 comments:

kate w. said...

Hi- I have been lurking for a while now- thanks to Swistle.

I LOVE TCG!! I am SO in!

MoMMY said...

This is FABULOUS!!! Can not wait to play!

SP said...

In college, we played a game like this with a can of spam and the goal was to "get rid of it." Thing2 does this kind of thing with Baby Jesus from our Christmas nativity each year too. I love it. If my Michaels doesn't have chickens I will cry.

Amy said...

How cute is Mr. Pickles? I love it! I'm making a prediction that TCG is going to sweep the nation.

Swistle says if we beg, you may send us a chicken so here goes... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE?!

Gina said...

I can't wait to play!

qwanty said...

I am ALL OVER tiny-chicken-based methods of dissertation distraction, because sometimes children have to sleep, thereby eliminating my justification for being over there (e.g., the living room floor) do other things (e.g., watching the Muppet Show.) Think of the progress I won't make with a whole dozen Mr. Pickles of my own! I am dizzy with anticipation. Yay!

Kristi said...

Dude. I can't believe I'm getting sucked into such nonsense. And I am, oh how I am!

Amanda said...

I'm so going to Michael's at lunch for a bunch of chickens.

Amanda said...

Oh and, um, it would be best if I were to receive a mystery envelope in the mail with a Mr. Pickles from the Mr. Pickles originator.

PUHLEASE!

Kookaburra said...

I'm totally game. Count me in. Sign me up. This sounds like so much fun.

Note to self: Buy chickens.

Miss Grace said...

If I was the recipient of a chicken, from the original TCG genius, I would be very, very pleased. (Begging, if you can't tell).

Lizzie said...

I am all about TCG! I giggled all the way through your post and had to read it out loud to my husband. I'm totally dragging Mighty Maggie into this too.

Shelly Overlook said...

Is it wrong for me to hope for my own chicken in my PIF package? If not, I will definitely be getting some of my own. Too fun!

Hotch Potchery said...

We NEEDED this game in grad school. I guess I will just have to start playing it now...I am going up for tenure this year.

So, as a point of clarification...can you just leave chickens anywhere for anyone, or do they have to KNOW they are playing?

Little-Bit said...

From Type A,OCD Land: So, when someone finds a chicken, do they make a pointed exclamation, like, "Gosh, where DID this chicken come from?" And then is the game over? Does THAT person hide the chicken and start a new game? I NEED to know!

katethegr8 said...

I found you through Swistle..and I think I am excited about this whole chicken game..as well as the INTERNET PHENOMINON!!! :)

Jen said...

(not 1 but 2 OMGs will be included in this comment...my apologies in advance.)

OMG #1 - i totally have my own wee chicken on my desk at work right this very minute! he was gifted to me last easter by a co-worker and was simply too presh to put away post-season. i shall start TCG tonight!

OMG #2 - @SP it's too bad i've never met Thing2 because we are a perfect match since i have a habit of lifting baby jesuses from nativities. i know it's wrong (and maddening if you ask my mother) but i can't help it.

to answer your follow-up question: yes, instead of a nativity, we have a dozen baby jesuses on our mantle in appropriate nativity positions...bigger jesuses standing where joseph & mary go, the cutest one being himself in the middle, the mini jesuses being barn animals.

what - it's totally normal!

enough self-incrimination - on with TCG!

Emily R said...

We played this game with Ugly Baby. I'll start chickening right away, though. I think my husband might get into this a little easier than a really ugly baby doll.

the new girl said...

We played this game too! Only with a troll doll and some other very unsavory items.

Under the pillow is a good one. And in the freezer.

kelli said...

I used to play this with a rock in college. Chickens sound like way more fun.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

This sounds like a fun game. I'm totally in.

Kate said...

It's ON!!!

nicole said...

I so want to do this with my family. So I will. I'm pretty sure my younger kids won't get it, but my girls should enjoy it. Thanks for the idea!

And if we have enough fun, I'll email you and pretend that I had no idea it was your creation.

Jenn Mc said...

I can't wait to start!

much more than a mom said...

I may never take a picture because I suck at that but I am TOTALLY going to play this!

caleyadams said...

Just clicked over from Swistle to say that this looks like exactly the amount of silly fun that I need right now! I will be acquiring some chickens promptly. :)

Mama Bub said...

This is the absolute HIGHLIGHT of my day. I can't wait to get to Michael's. Cute little chickens! Yippee!

Stimey said...

Not only am I all about playing TCG and making it an INTERNET PHENOMENON, but I was playing a more in-your-face version of TCG a year and a half ago. If you visit my quick post, you'll see that my husband obviously won.

After 3 Weeks in the Car

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Clicked over from Swistle.

This sounds so fun... we do something similar to my brother every Christmas with this monkey stuffed animal he had from when he was a little kid. He was trying to get rid of it when he was 18, but my mom made this big deal about how he just "HAD" to have it when he was a kid, and then never cared about it. Then they started hiding it back and forth; he'd try to get rid of it, and she'd put it back in his room in creative places, then he'd hide it again somewhere else, and then she'd put it back in his room, etc... etc...

Now, every year my mom finds it in his room or whereever, and we wrap it with one of his Christmas gifts and then he always opens The Monkey with some gift on Christmas morning (I usually write a card from The Monkey that says things about being so lucky to be best friends with him, etc etc...). It's tradition now!

I have to ask: does the 2nd person who finds the chicken HIDE it next? And then you hide it, then they do, then you do, then they do??? Or do YOU always hide it, they find it, and you take it back and hide it again?

Stepper the Mighty said...

Oh my goodness. This is brilliant. I must be a part of the INTERNET PHENOMENON! My neighbors will have NO idea what hit them.

Amanda said...

Michael's had pink and yellow chickies, six to a package, for $2.49, or teeny tiny ones, 12 to a package, for the same price (I think).

Mary said...

How do people know they are playing the chicken game and not just getting a random toy in their cereal box?

ya ya's mom said...

oh i want a chicken...
maybe mr. pickles will make it to my house soon

Amanda said...

My son found a chick in his coco puffs this morning. He was SO excited and is now assigned with hiding the chick himself.

bluedaisy said...

I just posted about this on my blog because I want to support the creation of an INTERNET PHENOMENON. And it sounds like so much fun! The Chicken Game will be underway as soon as I get my chicks :)

Prof. Jen said...

Day 1 of TCG. You should have seen the look of joy on Brian's face when he found the first chicken (we're playing with 2). We bought enough for the "adults" to play, and some for the 3 year old who doesn't quite understand yet how to hide something and keep quiet about it. Also, bought an extra pack of 6 to send to family. :)

Nil Zed said...

Sadly, it is not an Internet Phenomenon yet. I just googled The Chicken Game and got ) hits. Mr. Pickles brings up a whole lotta stuff about some sandwich shop(s?).

If I can find some little chickies here in the UK, then when my friend visits from the States next week, Mr. Pickles can go to London with us. Won't that be fun!

LiteralDan said...

I definitely need some details on the rules, so I know that I'm playing it right, but I know my wife would love this just as much as I do.

It reminds me of the days when we each used different toothpastes and went to work at different times, so we would acknowledge each other's existence in the morning and night by leaving our tubes in the cabinet in an ever-changing variety of compromising positions. Shouldn't have been as much fun as it was.

Yvonna said...

I am so excited about this. I am always leaving little notes and cards for my friends. I like to mail cards all the time. And this little game sounds fantastic. Now I'll have another reason to go to Michael's!