You know, you wouldn’t think that Sicilian Buttercup chickens would have much to do with the U.S. economy, healthcare — yours or society’s — or even whether to wash your dishes by hand or use a dishwasher, but they really do.
The Sicilian Buttercup — which always sounds like something you’d have for dessert on your birthday — is a speckled brown and blond chicken that, according to chicken experts, is a lousy brooder.
This doesn’t mean that she’s not a thinker; actually, thinking isn’t a process associated with chickens of any breed. No, this means that Sicilian Buttercups will not sit on a clutch of eggs for three to four weeks and hatch them into chicks. They just don’t do that.
Except on our farm. And others, I’m thinking, because this piece of information, like so many facts hoisted and foisted upon us by experts every day, isn’t universally true.
The Son and Heir, who is as fascinated by chickens as he is by shooting arrows or reading about the Battle of Hastings, researched the breed and determined to add them to our eclectic flock. Source after source after source — both on the Internet and in chicken books — described them as beautiful, ornamental chickens that would never be mothers.
Well, they are, sharing between them and a third hybrid hen 12 chicks — another situation that isn’t supposed to exist, because conventional and expert wisdom, in source after source after source — assures us that chickens don’t share their chicks. One day, Sicilian Buttercup #1 has four chicks and her sister, parenting in tandem with the hybrid, has eight. Later in the afternoon the count is seven and five. That evening, six and six. The main thing that matters to me is that the final number adds up to 12. And with five cats lurking around, that’s always questionable.
While it’s a jump, or hop, from chicken parental dynamics to Keynesian Economics, the principle point — that there are a lot of people out there giving us either wrong information, or information that nobody can possibly know is veritably true — applies.
How many times do you open the paper or scroll through your e-mail and read, “This must be done to salvage our economy”? (Interestingly, “This” usually involves significant amounts of money being transferred to people who already have it, and have misplaced it, somehow.)
Or your doctor insists that, “You must take this pill, and there are no serious side effects.” But you have researched this medication, and you know, indeed that there are side effects, and you mention this to the doctor.
“If you’re not going to listen to me, then there’s no point in our talking,” he replies. End of five-minute consultation.
(I’m not making this up, by the way; this happened to a real person. I’m guessing it’s not an anomalous situation.)
Or the dishwasher versus hand washing — if you think that the health care situation is contentious, check out Does Using a Dishwasher Actually Decrease Water Use by One Green Generation, and make sure to read the comments. This would be lively action on C-Span, representing far more commentary and debate than we are accustomed to seeing in the hallowed halls of our lawmaking bodies.
If there is this much controversy on dish washing, why do we so trustingly believe what we are told about the big things? Is it because we are so emphatically, positively, confidently, and repeatedly assured of the “facts”?
Trust your instincts.
Trust your intelligence.
Don’t blindly accept everything you read or hear, and don’t forgo adding Sicilian Buttercups to your life because they won’t brood and hatch out chicks.
(Oh, by the way, there are still 12. Three and nine.)
Happy Mother’s Day, you wonderful mothers out there. My gift to you, The Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift.