I sent this funny story to my cousin Joe Palazzolo, for his feature article on Halloween a few years ago – St. Louis style, in the Wall Street Journal. Because we’re related, he wasn’t able to publish. Ashame for it to not be heard, so here you go!
I can’t remember what I wore that year — I might have been a ghost. The kids I hung out with that evening decided to egg cars; something I’m not particularly proud of.
My Dad mentioned that when the people doling out the candy ask us to do a ‘trick’, tell them a joke instead.
I explained I wasn’t very good at telling jokes, and he said “Not to worry…just tell them THIS joke — Why did the chicken cross the road?”
”Dad, I already know that joke!”
“I bet, it doesn’t have the same punchline that you think.”
“Okay, Dad, what’s the punchline?
“To lay it on the line!”
“What does that mean?”
“You don’t have to know what it means, just tell the joke.”
I felt really confused, but yet I took Dad’s advice, and when asked to do a trick, I’d pipe up and say, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
At the first house, the nice thirty-something couple (holding a pair of red wax lips I so dearly wanted), asked, “Honey, why did the chicken cross the road?”
“To lay it on the line.”
“Ahhh.. Smart kid”, they both chimed in. “That deserves two pieces of candy.”
I kind of half-smiled as I held out my queen-size white pillowcase to accept the desired treats — wax lips, and some multi-colored candy buttons on long strips of white waxy paper.
I repeated this joke over and over, as we hopped from house to house Halloween night, and received the same positive response from all the adults. I was pretty puffed up and proud — like a chicken.
To this day, I still can’t figure what’s so funny about the chicken joke, but it went over well with the “big people”. I guess that chicken’s water broke, and she just couldn’t hold the egg in any longer. Good thing she was smart enough to lay it on the line, not in oncoming traffic.
The bright line down the center of the road is kind of a safe place, if you think about it. Whether we’re driving, or crossing the road, it gives us boundaries.
So be safe this Halloween.
Keep an eye on your kiddos.
And watch out for those chickens crossing the road.