Rubber Chicken

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with rubber chicken for most of my adult life. (And after re-reading that sentence, I’d like to clarify that ‘rubber chicken’ is not a euphemism for anything unmentionable. Just sayin’.)

It all started (as so many things do) with my friend Swamp Butt. I can’t remember the circumstances exactly, but I had refused to partake in some activityโ€ฆ wait; hang on. It might have been laser hair removal.

Whatever it was, I declined; and she called me a chicken. I probably flung back an equally mature reply, and that was the end of it. Until the next gift-giving occasion, when she handed me a beautifully-wrapped parcel containing this:

It’s squishy silicone, which makes it revoltingly floppy.

Of course, we laughed our asses off. My niece was young then, and every time she visited, she also laughed at the rubbery chicken.

Fast-forward a decade or so. My niece went to Japan as an exchange student. When she returned, she brought me this:

It’s horrifying. It looks like a traumatized poultry sex doll.

Of course, we laughed our asses off all over again.

Not long after that, I was introduced to another version of rubber chicken that never, ever invoked laughter: The dreaded ‘networking dinner meeting’. Chicken was almost always served because it accommodates most dietary needs. Unfortunately, chicken meat does not hold up well to the kind of lengthy warming that occurs with catered meals. Eating rubbery chicken while crammed into uncomfortable business clothes and making strained small talk was as close as I care to come to hell.

Thankfully, the days of networking meetings are well in my past. The shudder-inducing memories have begun to fadeโ€ฆ which is why I was surprised last week when I dreamed about eating rubber chicken again.

I woke up chewing on this:

I’ve just started wearing a mouth guard to keep me from grinding my teeth at night. So far it’s not going very well.

The flavour and texture of the mouth guard are remarkably similar to those long-ago chicken meals. Fortunately, I didn’t manage to actually bite off a piece and swallow it.

Anybody else have a love/hate relationship with rubber chickens?

Book 17 update: My first beta reader has finished, hooray! I’ll make revisions, then pass it to my next beta reader. Stay tuned for a cover reveal and release date, to be announced in my next post!

24 thoughts on “Rubber Chicken

  1. Sorry to hear about the teeth grinding and the mouth guard. Is that an anxiety thing? I chewed my fingernails for over 65 years. Went on ADHD meds and stopped. Started again sitting in a hotel room in Poland with Covid. Went back on ADHD meds when we got to Canada and stopped chewing them again. Not sure what else it controlled but I figure $125 is worth it just for that.
    I learned about Rubber Chicken the first time I tried to cook it in a slow cooker. It bounced when I was done. Flew Aeroflot Moscow to Almaty in 1991. Two rules apply. 1. They always serve chicken. 2. Do not eat the chicken. One of the guys with us disobeyed rule 2 and payed for the next 24 hours.
    Lucky has a rubber chicken with a squeaker which he dearly loves. Also a stuffed toy with a squeaker. My old dog Monty would first thing remove the squeaker from his toys and then play with it until it wore out. Go figure.
    Congratulations on your book. I do wish Netflix, Disney, or Amazon Prime would pick your books for a TV series. They also should give you the lead role.

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    • Aw, thanks! I have no desire whatsoever to be in front of the camera; but I’d love to see Never Say Spy on the big (or small) screen. I’m still shopping the screenplay around, so who knows?

      I laughed and shuddered at your rubber chicken experiences. I was lucky to never actually get sick from a rubber chicken dinner, but the potential is always there.

      As to the teeth grinding being related to anxiety… maybe? I’ve been reading up on it, and apparently people also clench their teeth at night due to GI reflux (which I have) and trying not to snore (which I do). I guess I’m just a ‘perfect storm’ of possibilities. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  2. You have so many funny anecdotes in and from your life, Diane, that I think you ought to write a book with/about them, one day. Non-fiction that will cause others to laugh their asses off!

    So, the mouth guardโ€ฆ Iโ€™ve been grinding my teeth for decades (and having non-chicken related nightmares as well) and tried one of those mouth guards many years ago. It didnโ€™t go well either.

    Back then, I found my cheeks were pressed between it and my teeth, causing painful rims of flesh on the insides of my mouth. Recently, I tried this device again as I came across it and discovered that, since I easily gag on things, just having this piece in my mouth made my throat and stomach convulse, so I finally threw it out.

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    • I’m kind of at that stage myself. My tongue and the insides of my cheeks are constantly sore and abraded, and sometimes I wake up with bruises on my tongue. Owie. I suspect that if I shelled out the $400 to my dentist and had a mouth guard custom-made, it would solve a lot of the problems. But I hesitate to shell out the $400 in the first place, just in case I have the same problems and can’t use it after all. Grrr.

      I’m glad you got a chuckle! It seems as though weird/funny stuff happens to me a lot. My biography would be pretty boring though — in between the weird/funny episodes, I live an uneventful life (which is exactly the way I like it)! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Back when I worked in IT we had a theory that if you went into the server room with a rubber chicken and did a little dance while chanting it would fix the servers and in general reduce downtime.

    We tried it for several weeks and keep rubber chickens in strategic positions throughout the various labs. It seemed to help the server uptime, but six months later the company failed and we were all laid off. Guess we should have gone to the CEO’s office with our chickens …

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    • LOL! When I worked in IT, I often considered sacrificing a chicken to the God of Uptime; but I never got around to it. Clearly I should have been using your rubber chicken strategy.

      If only your CEO had known about the rubber chickens. After all, who doesn’t need a rubber chicken? (Or two.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. I hear you on catered chicken. Another reason to be glad that as a woeful hunter I am now a vegetarian. My partner’s sister bought a squeaking rubber chicken (totally grotesque) for her dog. That squeeeee is a sound best avoided. Her husband did some surgery and removed the squeak. The dog rejected the silent toy.

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    • Too funny! I always wondered how much of a chew toy’s appeal was in the squeak. That sound would drive me nuts in short order, so I would have completely supported the squeak-suppressing surgery.

      With the price of meat these days, vegetarianism is looking like a smart choice. Now, if I can just figure out how to make a veggie patty that tastes like a barbequed steak…

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  5. Many years ago my mom, who was a very good cook, served us a chicken dinner. We all started eating and after a few chews stopped. I had never had before or since a freshly cooked chicken with that texture. We all started laughing and making rubber chicken jokes. I know it had nothing to do with the way it was prepared so it had to be the chicken itself. We joked that perhaps it had died of old age or had become tough from too much activity. This led to speculating about chicken races and the conversation went downhill from there. The rubber chicken remained a family joke for years.

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    • I love that your family speculations went immediately to chicken races — I’m still laughing! That happened to me with a turkey once — first the thing wouldn’t cook, taking HOURS longer than usual; and even after all that cooking, it was pure rubber. Not my most successful dinner. If only I’d known your family story, I would have told my guests that I was serving a rare delicacy: A pedigreed racing turkey. They wouldn’t have believed me, but at least we would have gotten some laughs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  6. Not with rubber chickens, but with mouth guards, yes! (which my dentist calls a bite plane) I have tried numerous times now to get used to it. Once I wore it for a year and felt comfortable with it. My latest try lasted five nights; I just couldn’t take it. I feel that it now makes me grind more, starting as soon as I put it in. My dentist suggested that even if I wear it when I’m awake, say in the evening, it will reduce my overall grinding. BUT I DON’T GRIND UNTIL I PUT IT IN MY MOUTH, DR. DENTIST!! I don’t think she will believe me.

    Oh, were mouth guards not the main topic?? Back to rubber chickens – I think that now you have two of them, you can be considered a collector, and should expect rubber chickens for every gift-giving occasion and sometimes for no reason at all ๐Ÿ™‚

    I enjoyed going back to read your Swamp Butt post, by the way. And one last thing, I’ve had trouble signing in to WordPress for commenting, but I finally located my password so I am cautiously optimistic that I will be able to comment today.

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    • Hooray! Your comment came through just fine — welcome back! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Swamp Butt is one of my favourite friends, and that road trip is a luminous memory that still makes me laugh. We live too far apart to go on road trips together anymore, but maybe someday we should meet in the middle and just sit in a car for ten hours or so. (What could possibly go wrong?)

      I loathe the mouth guard. It’s uncomfortable, it has a sandpapery texture that sets my teeth on edge, it takes up so much space in my mouth that I bite my tongue at least once per night, and it makes me drool. If not for the fact that my sore tooth is fine now that I’ve stopped clenching on it all night, I’d chuck the mouth guard like the repulsive device that it is. As it is, I’m tolerating it… for now.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My only rubber chicken incidents have been of the “too many times reheated” variety. Bleh. A dish which cannot be eaten politely.

    But a friend of mine had a rubber “pooping pig.” Basically a small pig you’d squeeze and a brown bubble would expand out of its hindquarters. Looked more like someone blowing a bubble from chocolate bubblegum, out the wrong end.

    I wonder if anyone’s mother ever told them not to swallow bubblegum, in case that very thing happened…

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    • Bahahaha!!! A pooping pig — that’s hilarious! My mother certainly never told me anything like that about bubble gum. She probably knew if she did tell me that, I’d immediately go out and devour an entire pack just to see if I could blow bubbles out my butt. (Have I mentioned that my mother needed the patience of a saint to deal with me?)

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    • A kitten?!? Oh, you lucky guy! I have zero maternal reactions when it comes to human babies, but kittens reduce me to a squeeing puddle of goo. What colour is she? Long or short hair? How old? And how adorable? ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • SRG: The last cat to arrive at our address went by Sweetie until the first time I had to visit the vet. They call patients into the exam rooms by the pet names. Imagine a grizzled older male vet calling “Sweetie!” and having to rise and respond ๐Ÿ˜€

      Congratulations on the new kitten – I envy you!

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