Off Campus

12 April 2006

Easter '06

In the spirit of Easter, and all things oval and brightly-colored that may or may not be filled with chocolate, marshmallow, or caramel, we here at Off Campus want to take a moment to answer a letter sent in to us by little Zuzi Tintorerra, age 7. We've been holding off replying to this letter until now, so hopefully Zuzi hasn't already found an answer to her query via a palm reading or on the playground (where we get our best inside information). We hope that by answering this question for Zuzi, others may benefit from the knowlege and experience that we have attained collectively in over half a century of trying to avoid major surgery.

Zuzi writes:

Dear Off Campus,

I really don't get your blog. Is this supposed to be funny? Mommy and Daddy say that it's OK for me to look at your blog because you use small words and are not photographic. Will you buy some popcorn for my school trip?

Zuzi Tintorerra
Age 7

PS - Do Easter eggs ever hatch?

Dear Zuzi,

This reminds us of a story that happed to me when I was your age (give or take 5 years).....

Every Easter morning, "The Easter Bunny" used to hide our Easter eggs in and around my house. Even though my sister and I had participated in dipping the eggs into the Coffee Cups o' Color the night before, we still had to find them the next morning before we could hand them off to our father to eat (we didn't like to eat 'em, just color 'em), and more importantly, we couldn't eat any of the candy in the basket until the eggs were all rounded up.

Anyway, one year we neglected to find one of the eggs, which lay hidden under a couch cushion in my father's favorite TV chair. There it sat for days until a strange sound began to rise out from under my father's relaxed, uh, "southern temperate zone". At first we thought it was just a reaction to the beef we'd had for dinner that night, but the prolonged repetition and high pitch of the noise ruled out the 'ol "chocolate thunder". Sensing something was not quite right, he got up and lifted the cushion to find that, unbelievable as this may seem, the Easter egg had HATCHED. Somehow, the combination of warmth, methane, and low-level radiation from the Zenith had caused a reaction with the Easter egg dyes and jump-started nature, right there in the recliner chair. And what did we see there, looking back at us with tiny puzzlement?

A psychedelic chicken.

That's right, looking just like it stepped out of a Peter Max painting, a multi-colored (we're talking one of the BIG Crayola boxes here, folks) baby chick was staring at us in wide-eyed puzzlement. As my father went to get the hammer, my sister and I sang repeated choruses of "Can we keep it/Can we?/Can we?" in the round until my parents gave in and let us have the only day-glo featherhead on the block. It was the best Easter ever! Even better than when I got the Weird Al tape in my Easter basket in 1983!

Chicky Hendrix, as we call her, lived with our family for several years, making the newspaper (which sadly only ran its photos in black and white, thus diminishing her mindbending visuals in print) and an episode of REAL PEOPLE, which sadly never aired, as the master tape was accidentally destroyed when Skip Stephenson and Byron Allen let an inter-office Jart game get out of hand, and one of the deadly aerodynamic spikes crashed into the editing room and skewered the reel the Chicky segment was on.

She loved to dance to Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, and Iron Butterfly especially. To see her happily hop around and flap her wings to the "Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida" drum solo was something that those who witnessed it will not soon forget. She was prone to lying on her back in the yard and staring at the sun, and not clucking so much as humming.

Chicky left us one summer day when the circus came to town. I guess she saw the trucks go by our house, spotted the brightly-colored paintings on the side, and felt that she had at last found her people. Once the convoy of carnies rolled past our house, all that were left to remember Chicky by were a few multi-colored feathers and some particularly odd memories.

We tried to hatch another psychedelic chicken a few more times after that, but PAAS must have changed their ingredients (or my father changed his diet), as the magical combination of factors that led to Chicky never again came together.

So yes, Zuzi, you can hatch Easter eggs. Just not that easily. Or often. So don't try. Really. You're better off learning to weave straw or taking a German class or something you can make money from later in life.