15 August 2012



Look out everyone, generic John Smith is loose again! Hide your goodies and brace your own! There’s no telling where this rip-roaring rampage will abate. Yes, “abate” my dear friends, for this tale shall never “end.” Mere abatement is the best we can, and should, hold out for. As if our lives had a nice, conveniently placed, pause button. No actual definable End, but not even a “real” “beginning” or “middle,” either. Plain old chapter stops. Envision the chapter stops as ancient, handwritten scrolls where each chapter is a different scroll, or envision them as a new release DVD with scene selections. Either way, you should get the idea. Close your eyes, point your finger, and hit a random button. It’ll get you somewhere.


The John Smith glances out from his patio, directly at the reader, and smiles as if nothing is wrong. Of course, he understands that him being viewed is a complete assault on his definition of reality, but he takes it in stride. “Just a drug flashback…,” or some such bullshit is how he defines or justifies this awareness. As quickly as not, he forgets it and begins thinking about rubber chickens. Kind of a defense program. When things gets too rough in “reality,” he shuts down most systems and runs basic cold/heat, pain/pleasure type functions, with a piggy-back hacker-style surreal thought inducer: The Rubber Chicken.

Whenever John Smith approaches a brown-out or black-out situation he has these functions occur at once. Then, he is thinking about rubber chickens.

This time he envisions a complex history of marketing and development. Beginning with Herman Winslow. Herman, of course, is the inventor of the plastic vomit spot. (“Fool your friends! Looks like real vomit!”) His next invention, Crystal Dog Doo, never caught on. His competitor, Albert Rubinstein, had much better luck with his rubber version. Soon, Rubber Dog Doo™! and Fake Puke™! were competing for the Guinness Book of World Records position of best-selling novelty item.

Then Herman made a terrible mistake. He sank all of his money into a new novelty product. The Flannel Chicken. He paid an estimated two million dollars for 5 million Flannel Chickens. His assessment of the public’s buying prices and habits cost him dearly. The original price of the Flannel Chicken was $14.95. He sold less than five hundred of the five million units in the first year. Only two thousand sold the following year for less than five dollars each. By the third year of release, he had been completely wiped out. His fatal flaw, as in the case of Crystal Dog Doo, was in misinterpreting the needs of the buying public. Again, his main competitor Rubinstein had outdone him with another “Rubber” version. The Rubber Chicken outsold the Flannel Chicken to a ratio approaching 10,000
to 1. While this ratio gained the Rubber Chicken a place in Novelty Record history, it also granted a place in Faux Chicken esoterica. The Flannel Chicken now has an asking price in excess of $10,000 whenever an original one turns up in auction. As there are only 148 Flannel Chickens known to be still in existence, it is also the rarest known mass-produced Novelty Collectible.

Revenge beyond the grave? Only if it doesn’t come in rubber.

-Jerry Garwold,

Collect This magazine

XXIII Number V

May, 1996

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