Counting Our Chickens

Okay, so I just had a business breakfast yesterday and instead of bacon I had the chicken apple sausage.

It was  a very boring business breakfast, as they sometimes are. You generally have breakfast with people that are pleasant, of course, but not important or interesting enough to warrant a lunch, which takes longer, or drinks, which should be fun, or God forbid, dinner, which requires a big agenda, a big budget, or friendship. Anyhow, this was breakfast, and I had chicken apple sausage, which I understand is made of chicken.

While we talked about integration of some new organization post-merger, I thought about what I was eating. That’s never an altogether good idea unless what you’re eating is a stalk of asparagus. And it occurred to me that during the course of the year I must eat more than 300 chickens. This is partially because I don’t eat a lot of beef anymore for a variety of reasons both humane and wellness-related, and also because no matter how hard I try I’ll never be a fish person, unless that fish is encrusted with bread and deep fried. And pigs have faces. So some days I have chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you count rubber-chicken dinner, that number goes even higher. Think about that. An entire ballroom, with 2,000 people in it, all of them eating… chicken. All those chickens. Thousands of them. Multiply that by all the rubber chicken dinners taking place that night in cities around the world.

So this guy I’m having breakfast with says, “There are cultural issues that have to be addressed if we’re going to make one plus one equal three.” And I reply, “How many chickens do you think are eaten in this country every day?” And he looks at me kind of blankly, and says, “I don’t know. A lot?” And I can tell he thinks I’m out of my mind, and not attending to business. But so what. Some questions hang in the air and after a while you kind of feel they have to be answered.

Last night I didn’t know what to eat, so I picked up one of those pre-packaged chicken breasts that are sauced and seasoned by the chicken company. I’m not going to name which one because chicken companies are as litigious as the next guys these days. It said I could just pop it in a pan and saute it, so that’s what I did. It seemed like frying it, but I guess there’s some kind of a difference. Anyhow, it was very weird, not because the sauce was strange — it was just like an Italian dressing of some kind — but because the chicken breast was uniform all the way through and not textured at all. It looked like chicken. It smelled like chicken while it was cooking. But it didn’t taste like chicken. Think about that for a minute. Of all the things you can eat in this world, some of them very, very strange, in the end most of them taste like chicken. But this was chicken, and it didn’t. Also unlike chicken, a pound of it came to almost $10.00.  That’s marketing for you. Improve something until it no longer resembles itself, and then get 10 times its actual value for it.

Have a good weekend.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.