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Comment Chickens are smarter than people (Score 1) 184

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."

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