There are two things on the Internet this morning that have filled me with childlike joy and delight: The hilarious video above of President Obama taking a crying baby into his arms and immediately soothing it into not crying — after his wife and the baby’s parents had tried unsuccessfully to do so — and the epic story of “Mike, the headless chicken.” I was gonna do a post on one of them but couldn’t decide which I fancied more, so I decided to do both in the same post. Why not, right?
The video appears to have been made and posted to YouTube by White House staffer. I’m not sure what the event was that it was taken at, but it appears to be taking place on the White House lawn.
So, about Mike, the headless chicken…
I came to be aware of his epic saga after Life magazine posted the photo above on Tumblr with the following note: “This is not a hoax, folks: Following a non-lethal decapitation, Mike the headless chicken, later nicknamed ‘Miracle Mike,’ lived for approximately 18 months.”
So I did some digging around and … IT’S TRUE! There’s even an annual festival held in Mike’s honor in Colorado — which I now feel immensely obligated to attend at some point in my life — and its website explains how Mike came to be headless…
September 10th, 1945 finds a strapping (but tender) five and a half month old Wyandotte rooster pecking through the dust of Fruita, Colorado. The unsuspecting bird had never looked so delicious as he did that, now famous, day. Clara Olsen was planning on featuring the plump chicken in the evening meal. Husband Lloyd Olsen was sent out, on a very routine mission, to prepare the designated fryer for the pan. Nothing about this task turned out to be routine. Lloyd knew his Mother in Law would be dining with them and would savor the neck. He positioned his ax precisely, estimating just the right tolerances, to leave a generous neck bone. “It was as important to Suck-Up to your Mother in Law in the 40′s as it is today.” A skillful blow was executed and the chicken staggered around like most freshly terminated poultry.
Then the determined bird shook off the traumatic event and never looked back. Mike (it is unclear when the famous rooster took on the name) returned to his job of being a chicken. He pecked for food and preened his feathers just like the rest of his barnyard buddies.
When Olsen found Mike the next morning, sleeping with his “head” under his wing, he decided that if Mike had that much will to live, he would figure out a way to feed and water him. With an eyedropper Mike was given grain and water. It was becoming obvious that Mike was special. A week into Mike’s new life Olsen packed him up and took him 250 miles to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City . The skeptical scientists were eager to answer all the questions regarding Mike’s amazing ability to survive with no head. It was determined that ax blade had missed the jugular vein and a clot had prevented Mike from bleeding to death. Although most of his head was in a jar, most of his brain stem and one ear was left on his body. Since most of a chicken’s reflex actions are controlled by the brain stem Mike was able to remain quite healthy.
(Obama video HT: Anna Holmes)