Paltry Poultry

I believe a lot in the little things in life. If there’s one R-Rated zombie comedy that came out in the last 5 years whose message I can get behind, it’s Zombieland’s of “Enjoy the little things.” And this is a topic I could and intend to talk a lot about, but I’m just going to give one main example today because the message is pretty brief and I want you to go ahead and get started on enjoying your weekend.

My roommate, Nathan, and I play this game called Squishy Chicken.

My club’s Christmas Social was held at a place called Prime Time which is similar to Main Event or Putt Putt. Over the course of the night I earned enough tickets (through blood, sweat, tears, my girlfriend’s game credits, and machine malfunctions) to purchase a small stress-relieving ball in the shape of a chicken. He’s got the little crest on his noggin, a beak and a perky tail… He’s a very unassuming chicken.

I also got two spaceships, but I lost those.

But I bring this chicken back to the dorm and put him on top of the microwave. About a day later, I moved him to a perch on top of our lamp because I thought he was deserving of a seat of high honour (especially honorable because it utilizes the British spelling). Nathan comes in and later looks to the microwave, asks a question that we didn’t realize would change everything: “Where’s Squishy Chicken?”

And thus the game was on. The rules are simple: put Squishy Chicken somewhere in the room for the other person to find him. Once you find him, hide him in another place. And there’s really no end in sight, though there are admittedly few spots for Squishy Chicken to hide. Stealth is a scarce resource in the game of Squishy Chicken.

But there’s just something about this that brings me a certain measure of joy. It’s not overwhelming, but it’s conspicuously present. There will be a moment when I think: I haven’t seen Squishy Chicken for a while. And there’s a beat where, stupid as it sounds, the room is filled with adventure. Nathan even upped the ante recently when he hid Squishy Chicken under my robot helmet, but went the extra mile so as to construct a roost for SC out of Taco Bell hot sauce packets.

That was one example of when SC brought me a substantial amount of joy because that is nothing short of a stroke of genius.

So often we have to allow ourselves to feel certain things, and it’s alarming that one of those things is joy. I’ve only been back at school for two weeks and I am already “feeling it.” And I don’t know exactly what it is I’m feeling, but anyone in college or at a job that makes them feel like they never get a chance to stop knew exactly what I meant by that. I started this blog so I could write to both challenge and refresh myself (and hopefully those around me). Yet already, it feels like a task. I only have a set amount of free time, and I have to divide that even more now because I devote some of it to writing even when I just want to sit down and play Lego Marvel Superheroes or, better yet, do absolutely nothing at all.

Please give me the benefit of the doubt when I preface the next example by saying that it’s a story from when I was around 6. Now I’ll concede I don’t remember much, but I remember this: I stayed home from kindergarten because I had some sort of appointment and it was a half-day anyway… Or something like that. It was for some reason other than sickness. But anyway, I was chilling with Mama Bain when she asked if I wanted to go to this playdate thing that my church put on for the stay-at-home moms and their kiddos. The thing is, you stop going once you’re in kindergarten, so I was above it. But I was already at the age to appreciate when a free lunch was offered (just food in general, really; everything was a free lunch back then) and we’d be going to Chick-Fil-A which had the most slammin’ nugs, so I agreed to accompany my mother.

So we get there and I’m watching all the other ankle biters (throw that on your list of words/phrases we don’t use anymore but need to bring back) run around on the mediocre playground equipment provided by Chick-Fil-A. And I don’t want to play because I’m older, and therefore better, than them. That was kid’s stuff.

But I haven’t played pirates in a while. And that slide looks pretty sweet.

So I finally just swallow my pride and go and play with the younger, lesser children who aren’t in kindergarten. And the slide was indeed pretty sweet, and I had what I’m sure was a swashbuckling good time running around for what felt like hours but was probably closer to thirty minutes.

There are probably other, more recent stories I could tell to illustrate the idea of letting yourself experience joy, but I like telling that one because I’m 6 years old and it’s the simplest way to convey a simple message.

I’m not going to tell you that I see God in the face of Squishy Chicken when I find him creepin’ around the dorm. I’m not going to tell you that Heaven smiled when I decided to put my toddler pride behind me and walk the plank at a Chick-Fil-A playplace.

Not everything has to be a hugely spiritual revelation.

But I think realizing that, that point in that sentence right up there… Maybe that is a huge revelation. I firmly believe that some of the smallest things mean the most and that they can do some of the most good.

Don’t miss chances to have joy. Even a little bit. Because when you think that maybe God’s hiding tiny chances at joy around your life like they’re little Squishy Chickens… Tell me you’re not going to want to look.

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