From "The Chicken Vanishes" by Calvin Trillin
The New Yorker, February 8, 1999 ....On my walks from my house in Greenwich Village to Chinatown, I have truly had the custom of taking out-of-town visitors to a Mott Street amusement arcade, otherwise known for video games, where the out-of-towners get to try their hand at playing tictacktoe against a chicken. My wife waits on the sidewalk. She has a low tolerance for video games, and she somehow acquired the impression that requiring a chicken to play ticktacktoe is cruel. ("Cruel!" I say to her. "I've never seen the chicken lose. What's cruel?")
The chicken is in a glass cage that is outfitted with the sort of backlit letters common to pinball machines - so that, at the appropriate time, "Your Turn" or "Bird's Turn" lights up. When it's your turn, you push a button on the outside of the cage to light up your "X" in one box or another; when it's the bird's turn, the bird goes behind an opaque piece of glass marked "Thinkin' Booth" and pecks once to produce an "O" in a box you were sort of hoping it wouldn't notice. If you win, you get a bag of fortune cookies. I furnish the entry fee - fifty cents. I am, after all, the host.
When I tell the chicken story, I always point out that nearly all the people I take down there have precisely the same response to the the prospect of playing ticktacktoe with a chicken. After looking the situation over, they say, "The chicken gets go go first!"
"But she's a chicken," I say. "You're a human being. Surely there should be some advantage in that."
Some of my guest, I always report with some embarrassment, don't stop there. Some of them say, "The chicken plays every day. I haven't played in years."