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This morning I had a fight with my husband, Victor, about towels. I can't tell you the details because it wasn't interesting enough to document at the time, but it was basically me telling Victor I needed to buy new bath towels, and Victor insisting that I not buy towels because I "just bought new towels." Then I pointed out that the last towels I'd bought were hot pink beach towels, and he said, "exactly," and then I hit my head against the wall for an hour.
Then my friend Laura came to pick me up so we could go to the discount outlet together, and as Victor gave me a kiss good-bye he lovingly whispered, "You are not allowed to bring any more goddamn towels into this house or I will strangle you." That little speech was still echoing through my head 45 minutes later, when Laura and I stopped our shopping carts and stared up in confused, silent awe at a display of enormous metal chickens, made from rusted oil drums.
Laura: I think you need one of those.
Me: You're joking, but they're kind of horrifically awesome.
Laura: I'm not joking. We need to buy you one.
Me: The five-foot tall one was $300, marked down to $100. That's, like, $200 worth of chicken for free.
Laura: You'd be crazy not to buy that. I mean, look at it. It's full of whimsy.
Me: Victor'd be pissed.
Me: But on the plus side? It's not towels.
Me: We will name him Henry. Or Charlie. Or O'Shannessy.
Laura: Or Beyoncé.
Me: Or Beyoncé. Yes. And when our friends are sad we can leave him at their front door to cheer them up.
Laura: Exactly. It'll be like, "You thought yesterday was bad? Well, now you have an enormous metal chicken to deal with. Perspective. Now you have it."
Then we flagged down a salesman and said, "What can you tell us about these chickens?" as if we were in an art gallery and not in a store that specializes in last year's bath mats. He didn't know anything about them but he said that they'd only sold one and it was to a really drunk lady, and then Laura and I said, "Sold. All this chicken belongs to us now."
So he loaded it onto a trolley, but Beyoncé was surprisingly unstable, and the giant five-foot metal chicken crashed over onto the floor. Laura and I yelled, "Chicken down! Cleanup in aisle 3!" but he didn't laugh. Then the manager came to see what was causing all the commotion, and that's when he found the very conservative salesman unhappily struggling to right an enthusiastically pointy chicken, which was almost as tall as he was. The salesman was having a hard time, and he told everyone to stand back "because this chicken will cut you," and at first I thought he meant it as a threat, like "That chicken has a knife," but turns out he just meant that all the chicken's ends were sharp and rusty. It was awesome, and Laura and I agreed that even if we got tetanus, this chicken had already paid for himself before we got it out of the store.
When we got to my house, Laura and I quietly snuck the chicken up to my front door, rang the doorbell, and hid around the corner. Victor opened the door and looked at the chicken in stunned silence for about three seconds. Then he sighed, closed the door, and walked away.
Laura: What the hell? That's it? That's the only reaction we get?
Me: That's it, he's a very hard man to rattle.
Victor was surprisingly mad that I'd "wasted money" on an enormous chicken, because apparently he couldn't appreciate the hysterical value of a five-foot chicken ringing the doorbell. Then I said, "Well, at least it's not towels" and apparently that was the wrong thing to say because that's when Victor screamed and stormed out. I knew he was locked in his office because I could hear him punching things in there. Then I yelled through his door, "It's an anniversary gift for you, you big jerk. Two whole weeks early. Fifteen years is big metal chickens."
He yelled back that he wanted it gone, but the thing was so big I couldn't move it myself, so instead I said okay and went to watch TV. When the UPS guy rang the doorbell, I ignored it and hid so I could hear his reaction, but all he said was, "Dude. Nice chicken," and Victor yelled, "It is not a nice chicken!" Which was probably very confusing to the UPS guy, who was just trying to be polite, Victor.
Victor seemed more disgruntled than usual, so I finally dragged the chicken into the backyard and wedged it into a clump of trees so that it could scare the snakes away. Then I came in and Victor angrily pulled me into his office so that I could see that I'd stationed Beyoncé directly in front of his only window. And I was like, "Exactly. You're welcome."
I told Victor that he could move Beyoncé if he wanted to, but he hasn't. Probably because of all of the giant rocks I piled on Beyoncé's feet to dissuade burglars. Or possibly because Beyoncé is growing on him. Still, I can't help but think that we wouldn't even be having this argument if Beyoncé were towels. Honestly, this whole chicken thing is really a lesson in picking your battles more carefully. Plus, he's awesome and I can't stop giggling every time I look at him. Beyoncé, that is.
Best. Fifteenth anniversary. Ever.
A version of this essay originally appeared on Jenny Lawson's blog, "The Bloggess." We laughed so hard reading it that we felt it deserved a wider audience. Jenny swears that she and Victor are still happily married.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, March 2012.