I just mentioned in the comments on the subdomains for SEO and other musings that today was  a slightly odd one. Let me tell you a little story, if you are squeamish then I suggest that you do not read it. And no, I am not kidding.

There was a chicken that came to live in a nice place in the country 3 years ago when it was just a few weeks old. It had previously lived inside in a room with thousands of other chickens. It was happy to find that an hour after being shoved in a cardboard box and bumping about that it was let out to see a beautiful blue sky. What a fabulous place the world it lived in really was.

It was living with 3 other chickens just like it in a small house that had a fenced area around it where it could gaze all day at the beauty of the world. It was given food and fresh water daily and was very happy.

As a reward to the people that looked after it it laid an egg a day for over 2 years. But it had been bred to do this and bred to have a relatively short life as a result. Not that it knew this of course.

In its third year it realized it could no longer lay an egg a day and it was not happy about this and it was a little sad. But, being a chicken it did not ponder this turn of affairs too much and very quickly forgot that it used to lay daily.

The owners decided that as the chicken had been so loyal and given them many hundreds of eggs it could stay with the other birds and still get fed.

But one Friday the chicken suddenly felt very odd. It could no longer stand up. The owners saw what had happened and felt sad and unsure what to do. The Man had killed chickens in the past but felt he had lost his nerve to do such a thing again as it is a hard and strange thing to do. Life is precious and confronted with the realities of such decisions is different to shopping in a Supermarket for food stuffs others have taken the life of.

By Saturday the chicken was still not feeling right and still could not stand.

It did not know but at the same time the owners had got a bungee cord and stretched it over a wooden pallet. The woman carried the chicken who by now was beginning to retreat in to itself as something had gone quite wrong inside its head.

It was laid down on the pallet and its head was put under the bungee cord. Its body was pulled back and then an axe was dropped over its neck and it passed away quickly and painlessly to wherever chickens desire to go once the shed their mortal coils.

And now I feel weird.

Life is very fleeting. To take a life, even that of a humble yet loyal chicken is a serious matter and not one to take lightly. But the reality is that ending suffering is actually better than allowing an animal to carry on when things will only ever get worse.

Life is short Dudes, very short. There are a million and one ways for it to get messed up and before we know it it is game over and you look back from whatever heaven you want to be in and think:

“Shit, and I spent so many of those years doing THAT, WTF!!!”

If you want to do something then do it. If you want to quit your job and do IM full time then just bloody well do it. If you want to live up a mountain the middle of nowhere and have the responsibility for little lives with big hearts then do it. If you want to move to another country then do it. If you have a miserable life with a partner that no longer gives you joy then leave and begin again. Life is precious and short and we should not waste it. I love my life and I love my Wife and the mental animals that annoy me daily (mostly the Dogs).

Anyway, thank you little chicken and I am sorry for what I did.

31 Responses to “Life”

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  1. Mark says:

    I think Moses may have been proud of your musings.

    My wife and I made a decision when there is enough money to put peanut butter on the table, then we are getting the hell out of socialist California and hide on some remote beach with Internet access.

    • Dave says:


      Sounds good to me Dude, and hey, you can always grow the peanuts yourself. Still seems odd that they grow underground though, doesn’t seem right somehow.

    • Craig says:

      Heh, I’m quite tempted, when I have the cash, to move *to* California. Only spent six weeks there but it seemed a lovely place.

  2. Craig says:

    One of my dogs used to catch rabbits regularly. He’d bring them back and drop them at my feet as a little gift. Not having a clue how to skin and prepare fresh rabbit (I was naught but a schoolboy then) I used to leave the carcasses in the undergrowth, hoping that the foxes would find them so they didn’t go to waste.

    One day the rabbit dropped at my feet wasn’t quite dead. It was definitely beyond saving – twitching, glazed eyes, blood frothing at the mouth – but was still alive. Even though I was merely ending its suffering, caving its head in with a rock was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. Taking lives is difficult, yet natural. I sometimes wonder if it’s only because we’re so divorced from the realities of where our meat comes from that we are so squeamish about killing things. Hard to say.

    Excellent post, sir. As William Shatner once sang “Live life like you’re gonna die. Because you’re gonna…Maybe you won’t suffer, maybe it’s quick, but you’ll have time to think ‘Why did I waste it? Why didn’t I taste it?'” It’s not often that I quote William Shatner songs, but this one is surprisingly good:

    • Dave says:


      I think it is definitely the way we are brought up and the way it is all sanitized. Here is Spain it is very different in the country. I remember a few years ago we went to a friends house in the local village. The young daughter who was six at the time led us downstairs and there were loads of little baby bunnies in hutches.

      She got one out and was stroking it and talking about how cute it was, but also told us that when it got bigger she would be eating it. She didn’t feel weirded out by it. I could also tell you a few stories about goats but I am under the Spanish secrets act on that one.

      Sorry you had to go through that tough experience, it is an amazingly hard thing to do even when it is called for.

      • Craig says:

        Thanks Dave. Sorry about your own tough experience too (and sorry for forgetting to say sorry in my first comment!).

        As a former-vegan who now loves a good steak, medium-rare, I’m very conscious of the strange attitudes people have. My mother would watch dozens of animal programs, saying “That’s disgusting! I don’t know how anybody could do that!” whenever a case of abuse came up, while tucking into a beef-burger. Of course killing an animal for food is different from just randomly abusing it, but there’s still plenty of pain and suffering involved in our current system of production, and people are far too happy to just look the other way.

        I’m planning on going hunting in the nearish future. I think every meat eater should do it once in their lives. If you can’t (to quote a pretty good TV series on the subject) kill it, cook it, eat it then you probably shouldn’t be eating it at all.

        Methinks you’ll be getting some interesting long-tail traffic for this post, Dave!

        • Dave says:


          No meed to say sorry, it is what it is. Hunting is a very good idea. I haven’t hunted but I have killed and gutted chickens and a few other things and it ain’t pretty to be honest. But it allows you to really examine your attitude to meat eating in a real sense. You see what is involved when best practices are observed. And then you realize that what you have done is the best it is going to get, most of the meat people eat is produces under less than ideal circumstances.

          I do know that once we are back in the UK we will be free range only, we try to do that here but it is nowhere near as easy for anything apart from basics.

          • Craig says:

            Free range is good. I try and go for free range, RSPCA ‘freedom foods’ certified, that kind of thing. I also give money to Compassion In World Farming. It seems only fair to give an animal a decent life before killing and eating it: that’s the symbiotic relationship at work, we give them food, shelter and protect them from predators, in turn they give their meat, skin, etc.

            So you’re moving back to the UK for good? I thought you were just buying a house here so you could flit back and forth.

            • Dave says:


              It may end up being about an even split, not really sure yet. But we will definitely keep this place on. Hopefully it will be Spain for a few months at a time a few times a year. Best of both worlds then.

              I agree about the meat point of view, a good life is the least we can give the animals we eat. One thing me and Wifey are both very interested in is learning how to fish when we come back. Or ideally, buy a place with enough land to make a big ass lake and stock it ourselves. Now that would be SWEEEEEEEEEEEET!

          • Craig says:

            I’d spend the bulk of the winters in Spain if I were you! (I know you’re up a mountain but I’m assuming it’s still generally warmer there?)

            I can just see you as lord of the manor, getting your butler to bait your line and pour you another cava as you sit by your private lake! Learning how to fish is on my to-do list as well. Seems like a very relaxing past-time, with the added advantage of free food.

            • Dave says:


              Still warmer although we get snowed in for a week or so each year. But it may actually be Winters in the UK, you know, central heating and all that. Ah, can’t even imagine the luxury. Piped gas rather than a bloody big bottle you have to manhandle. Water that doesn’t need to be delivered………….

  3. Bruno says:

    Nice post mate.

    This reminds me of a book that I believe I once mentioned in one Fb talk that we had:

    “Man’s search for meaning” by Viktor Frankl

    It’s a great book that I read recently.

    One of my favorite parts is the one where he talks about how hard it was at the concentration camps in the WWII, and how he had to share his bed with 8 other guys, all sleeping side by side really tightly because this was the only way to fit them all in bed.

    Then one night, the guy next to him was shaking, sweating and was obviously having nightmares. Bad nightmares indeed.

    He then lifted his hand to wake up his partner, but when he was about to do it, he suddenly realize that there was no way that that nightmare could be any worse than what their real lives in the concentration camps were.

    Now imagine having that kind of traumatic experience and realization … and still be able to find a meaning for one’s life.

    It’s a great book and one that I highly recommend.

    see you next week 😉

    • Dave says:


      I will have to check it out this time! Thanks for the recommendation. That is a very poignant section, can’t even imagine what people went through.

  4. Cat says:

    Good post. I have the chicken dilemma when the cats catch birds and lose interest before actually killing them – it’s awful watching them suffer, but hard to do anything about it too (and one of the many reasons I don’t eat meat – because I know I couldn’t/wouldn’t kill it myself). It must be worse when it’s a pet chicken you’ve bonded with.

    I started thinking about life being short when I hit my mid-30s. It’s like I kind of woke up & realised that time is running out, and I hadn’t done anything that was really important to me. I’m finally on the right path now, but I sometimes wish I could go back in time & smack my younger self upside the head for wasting so much time!

    • Dave says:


      It is tough but has to be done. We have kept young birds for meat int he past and I killed them, it was tough but I did it. Kind of like you, I wanted to prove that if I eat it I can kill it. I was a vegetarian for over 10 years. But I had lost my nerve and as soon as I looked at the poor chicken my heart started hammering. But it was very quick and I actually felt better afterwards then if I had left it to suffer.

      Such is life.

      And yeah, I hear you. But best not to regret what we did, rather to make sure that there aren’t any more in another 30 years 😉

  5. jamesthejust says:

    First off, sorry, Dave.

    Not a good experience to live through – I have pictures of myself on my pet pig “Snoopy” (I dubbed him that) in the Philippines. He was a beast to ride (actually better than a dog).

    Guess what we had for my 5th birthday? Man, he was screamin’ good. I know. I’m twisted. But really, it was good eatin’.

    Hopefully we can still be friends, I just meant to say in all sincerity that you’re right life is precious, and sorry for the gruesome way you had to put your chicken out of its misery.

    Now onto the reply to Craig – I’m with you. I used to live in Cali and moved for various reasons, not the least of which was having a big family and a high cost of living, but now living in Idaho I can’t wait to get back.

    Idaho’s free as America could ever be, I love the laws here…but Cali’s the loveliest place I’ve lived.

    Dude, I thought this was an IM blog???

    • Dave says:


      An IM blog and a little bit more, which is why I moved and how I want it. We all have lives as well as making our fingers bleed on the keyboards!

      I am totally with you on the taste of home reared meat. There is nothing that compares to it. It is a lot more honest to do it that way if you are a meat eater. You recognize the realities that it is a life you are taking and eating. And as Cat mentioned, I think if people really can’t face the realities of where their food comes from they should think about changing what they do eat.

  6. Teodor Lazar says:

    Having grown up on a farm, this story and the story about the young girl with the bunny reminded me about the baby goats I played with when I was little. I had 3 baby goats as pets for a few months and they would follow me around and nuzzle me and jump all over the place – that is until they got bigger and one day I came home from school (1st grade) to find them all cut up wide open and their fur coats hung out to dry out on the fence.

    That’s when I realized a scary truth. That on the farm the animals had a purpose and they weren’t there for fun and games. Pretty harsh.

    I believe a lot of people don’t live their lives the way they want and it’s hard to change for some, due to their circumstance, but they can at least try. Most people don’t even try or give up too soon.

    I guess if you try your heart out and fail, then you’ll have no regrets bc at least you went all out to give it your best shot!

    • Dave says:


      Good points. Trying and failing is not failure in my book, most people don’t even bother to attempt to do what they really want, as you say.

      That was a pretty harsh lesson to learn but at least you are one of the few who has faced the realities and can then make an informed decision. Too much of our meat simply never resembles the realities, being all nicely packaged as it is. Here in Spain they are at least a lot more real about it. You see whole rabbits in supermarkets looking like skinned Cats, don’t find that in the UK, not sure about the US.

  7. Gayan says:

    After a bit of a customizations this is what I got out of it :/

    ‘The Man had killed chickens in the past but felt he had lost his nerve to do such a thing again as it is a hard and strange thing to do…’

    ‘But the reality is that ending suffering is actually better than allowing *it* to carry on when things will only ever get worse’

    Nice post Dave… thank you.

    • Dave says:


      My pleasure. Odd we can do it for animals yet not for humans, although that is a whole other kettle of fish.

  8. Jamie says:

    Come down out of them there hills Dave.

    • Dave says:


      I am going to, next year. Just need a little bit more money to buy a house in the UK in the country. Actually, quite a lot more 😉

  9. Kerry says:

    Jonathan Safran Foer, the novelist, has written a very interesting book called Eating Animals, which is about, well, eating animals. It addresses what seems to be at the heart of all this: That it seems taboo in most cicles to discuss how we get our once living food. This is a subject that should definitely be more at the forefront of public discourse.

    • Dave says:


      Good point. Normally if you bring up such things, it is with an “Urgh, I don’t want to talk about it” from the other person.

      We are far to disassociated from the realities.

  10. Gerald says:

    I heard the same story Dave but it was not a Chicken, it’s a Duck laying golden egg. However, the owner of this duck has decided to kill it in the aim that he will gain more if he is going to check the inside part of the chicken. Sorry it’s a Duck I meant.

    • Dave says:


      Ah, the dilemna. Do you go for instant riches and take the golden egg out now or do you let the Duck lay high quality eggs for a long time and get a steady income?

      • Terry says:

        Reminds me of the Daffy Duck cartoon when the gangsters mistake him for the goose that layed the golden egg. That was funny…

  11. Donald says:

    Great story Dave. Oddly enough, I thought it was going to be a parody about IM and aged websites.

    I couldn’t agree more about life being short. I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of things I wanted. I quite a good paying job with outrageously great benefits about 15 years ago to drive Trucks. My family thought I had gone bonkers. I’d worked there for 10 years and knew I’d never go any further and I wanted to see the U.S. and had always wanted to drive Big Rigs since I was a kid. So I sold some land I had and quit my job. Bought a truck and started driving over the road. Went broke in about 2 years because I didn’t make good business decisions. But I learned a lot about business in those 2 years and I got to see the U.S. Would do it all over again.

    Been to Kalifornia, beautiful place but the people and government there make it a hell hole. My next dream is to move to Alaska and find me a nice little cabin on some remote shoreline in the Southeast part. Looking like next year will be the time!

    Thanks again for a great post.

    • Dave says:


      A man after my own heart. We have to follow our dreams if we can, and most of us can if we really put our minds to it.

      Hope your move to Alaska works out, don’t forget to take a jumper 😉

    • Bruno says:


      That reminds me of a great movie “Into The Wild” with Emile Hirsch and vince vaughn.

      Great OST with Eddie Vedder and definitely a great movie.

      Recommended 😉