Sunday, October 28, 2007

Searching for Mr. Pickles

This is Mr. Pickles.

This is Mr. Pickles's brother, Mr. Pickles.

This is Mr. Pickles, and Mr. Pickles's brother, Mr. Pickles.

Mr. Pickles entered my life on Easter, 1998. My mother had placed a few of these tiny yellow chickens in the Easter lily, and, because I kept talking about how adorable they were, she sent one of them back to college with me. At the time, I was sharing a house with four of my friends. Somehow, a game evolved in which one of us would hide the chicken somewhere unexpected, say a cereal box, and let the owner of said cereal box discover the chicken later. Sometimes, it would be several days before the unsuspecting owner of the cereal box would find the chicken - maybe she had bagels for breakfast instead - but it was absolutely crucial to avoid any and all questions about the chicken, even seemingly innocent questions such as, "So... have you had any cereal lately? Don't you want to have some now?" The Chicken Game relied on the element of surprise.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "What a stupid game." But see, you're only thinking that because you've never experienced the joys of finding a small yellow chicken peeking up out of your cereal, or hiding in the medicine chest, or secreted away in your coat pocket. The Chicken Game is awesome.

I brought The Chicken Game with me to grad school and played it with my roommate during my first year. Then, once I joined the lab, I started playing it with my lab mates. That's when Mr. Pickles earned his name. By that point, my mother - a big fan of The Chicken Game - had given me lots of new chickens, and I had two of them on my shelf in the lab. "They need names," said The Doktah, (of course it was The Doktah) and she came up with "Mr. Pickles," for the simple reason that "pickles" is an inherently funny word. Pickles pickles pickles. See? As for Mr. Pickles's brother, Mr. Pickles, I outright stole his name from the Sesame Street characters "Mr. Noodle and Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle" because that is comic genius, my friends. Comic genius.

So. Now you know who Mr. Pickles is. And every Easter, I stock up on packages of Mr. Pickleses so that I can continue to play The Chicken Game with my friends and family. Currently, there are two wine glasses full of Mr. Pickleses in my china hutch*. As long as I have extra Mr. Pickleses, I am free to leave Mr. Pickleses here and there as I go through life, in places like a friend's bathroom, or Muffet Niece's pillow. With a stockpile of Mr. Pickleses, I can also mail a Mr. Pickles to one of my college housemates or to The Doktah, if the mood strikes me.

If you're lucky, maybe I'll mail one to you.

*Where do you suggest I keep them?

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