This, I think, snarkily, is why I became a journalist.
So I could write about chickens.
But she was laughing when she pushed the 8-by-11 inch pictures of a ruffled yellow chicken on the tractor-trailer hitch toward me.
“It just made me laugh, I thought it would make other people laugh too,” she explained, laughing again as she told me the story.
The only reporter in the newsroom – everyone else was at lunch – I was the one called out front to talk about chickens. She handed me two typed pages, titled across the top:
The Traveling Chicken
The Trucking Clucker
I skimmed over the page there at the counter, then scribbled her phone number across the top corner. I’ll call you, I promised. Editors are at lunch, but I’ll let you know.
We all laughed over the story, back in the newsroom, just like she hoped. I mean, seriously – how can you not laugh when you see the words “trucking clucker” typed across a page?
So on Thursday afternoon I wrote about the chicken who took a joyride nearly to New York state and back, and complained about the trials of small-town journalism. We write about fatal crashes and fires and scheming politicians and then turn around and write about chickens.
But then I remembered the story about lost dogs, that made it into the most-read stories.
And then I found my lede.
This, I think, pleased, is why I became a journalist.
So I could write “Why did the chicken cross the road?” into the lede of a story.
Update: The story is online here.