Call him whatever you like - except THAT


Some things in this life just aggravate, occurring with no rhyme or reason like a bad dream or a pimple.

Some things in this life just aggravate, occurring with no rhyme or reason like a bad dream or a pimple. Rude name-calling is one of them, regardless of what they say about sticks and stones.

Mrs. Peterson and I were in the clinic's equine center ultrasounding a tendon on her stud horse. He was lame, and we were intently looking at the flexor tendon trying to determine how bad the lesion was and what we should do to make him better.

It was one of those rare occasions when it was just two of us and the patient inside the barn.

About 10 minutes into the exam, a loud, rather repulsive voice bellowed out from some distance away, echoing off everything.

I was under this 1,200-pound animal and could feel its muscles tighten as the scary voice struck its ears. The bent-over position I was in left little option for a quick exit. If this horse lunged, it was going to step on some part of me that certainly can't stand 1,200 pounds of pressure. But, just before it came to full attention, I was up and happy that my leg was still attached to my body.

"Hello in there. How is everybody dooooooing today? It's great to see you," this fellow screamed, his words bouncing off the rafters like a high-pressure salesman in a late-night infomercial.

I looked across the room to see a man who looked like he'd spent 10 years working at a carnival. His matted hair hung to his shoulders, his face covered with long, thin hair that collectively gave the appearance of some mange-laden Collie, and his clothes were covered with stains.

My heart was still pounding, and I was feeling a touch of anger as I stammered for something to say that would reflect my anger without being too rude.

Before I could speak, he droned, "I represent the (XYZ) Beef Co. ..." I interrupted him right there, before his screaming put the stud horse into fight-or-flight mode.

"We are working on horses in here, and they get frightened by loud voices."

My interruption didn't faze him. Instead he interrupted me again in the same obnoxious way.

"... and I was just wondering if you might be needing anything today?"

"Sir, what we need is for you to be quiet and just go away," I replied, just as the horse began to dance around with flared nostrils and big eyes. I had passed the point of being nice, adding a tone of authority to my voice.

He just continued in the same loud manner, but his next words left Mrs. Peterson and me with dropped jaws.

Looking back, it must have taken this fellow a moment to absorb the fact that I was trying to get him to leave as he continued with his thought process. But finally he blurted out:

"We have steak and chicken, and ---- you!" The words rolled out of his carnie mouth as he turned and got back into his little white pickup with a freezer in the bed.

I caught the latter two-word obscenity, but somehow my ears did not hear "steak and chicken."

I thought the man had just called me a stage chicken. I had never heard that term before.

Judging by the two words that followed, I guessed that stage chicken must be a terrible thing to call someone. I was furious that he'd called me a stage chicken in front of a lady. I had no idea what it meant, but could feel my ears turning red with anger.

"That was so terrible, I'm sorry you had to hear that. I've never been called that before, don't really even know what it means," I said to Mrs. Peterson in my most heartfelt apologetic tone.

But Mrs. Peterson had heard it correctly. She knew the man had said "steak and chicken," so she assumed I was talking about the last two words he uttered — the expletive.

Her face had a strange, almost twisted look.

"You have never heard that before?" she asked. "I thought everyone in the world had heard that by the time they were your age. I don't use that kind of language, but I have certainly heard those two words."

My mind went into overdrive. This woman had heard stage chicken and seemed to know it was a derogatory term. How could I be 45 years old and never heard anyone called a stage chicken? Yet this nice lady assumed everyone knew what a stage chicken was. I didn't want to compound my ignorance, so I just went back to work on the horse.

Shortly after, Dr. Michelle came into the room and started helping with the exam. She noticed my ears and face were red and must have sensed my anger. In a compassionate voice she asked if I felt OK.

"Did you just see that carnie-looking dude who was standing at the door screaming at us to buy his products?" I asked.

"No, what are you talking about?"

"There was a man here trying to sell something out of the back of his truck, screaming from that door over there. He spooked this horse and called me a stage chicken.

"A what?"

"A stage chicken. He called me a stage chicken. Mrs Peterson said she has heard of it and that everyone in the world has, too. I guess I've been living in a vacuum all these years because I don't know what it means, but it really ticked me off. This guy looked like he hadn't bathed in 10 years. I'm not sure I like being called a stage chicken by someone like him."

Mrs. Peterson started to laugh.

She explained that he had said "steak and chicken," and that she thought I was talking about the second two words.

We all laughed about it for the rest of the day. In fact, we still laugh and call each other stage chicken every now and then.

Dr. Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.

Related Videos
Related Content
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.