I like rituals. This is not a secret.

I like the way they can be tiny and silly and mysterious all at the same time.

How they cultivate mindfulness but not in some annoying “ooh I’m being mindful” way.

How they can be private and communal at the same time. How they mark time and encourage discernment and reflection.

How you can just make them up whenever you want to.

Two years. Almost.

Just about two years ago (August 8, 2008), I started doing this thing on Fridays where I listed the hard stuff and the good stuff in my week.

First it was called the Round-up. And then it was the Check-In. Which eventually (by Friday Chicken #59) became the Chicken.

The Friday Chicken!

Partly because of the extremely charming chicken graphic my designer made. And partly because the more it became apparent that this was only funny to me, the more I liked it.

And then we couldn’t stop.

I didn’t think I could keep it going for more than a few weeks. But people started joining me.

Pretty soon we had regulars.

And not just what you’d think: everyone chickening about whatever happened in his or her week.

People actively helping each other out, cheering each other’s good stuff, sending love for the hard stuff.

Kind of a weekly get-together. And always a mix of people who have never chickened before and people who do it every week. We care about each other.

I started getting over my “oh, nobody cares about the stupid stuff that happened in your week” monster-stories.

It started being fun.

Like most rituals, it just got kookier over time.

After about fifty-five of them, I was able to stop referring to each one as an “edition”.

Then we started collecting Stuisms.

And thanks to Stu, the meme beach house was born, which quickly became a venue for our Fake Band Of The Week (hint: it’s pretty much always just one guy).

Our Lucy (okay, so we have four commenters named Lucy, but definitely one of ours) came up with the brilliant phrase Chickeneers of the High Seas, which stuck.

Some people call it the Chick’m. And sometimes it’s chickening in, sometimes it’s chickening out.

That’s what happens.

And now we’re just about at one hundred chickens.

Fun Friday Chicken facts!

  • It was Chicken #8 when the Round-Up became a Check-in.
  • Apparently I am fabulously inconsistent about the structure and form of Chicken titles and I never know if I’m going to capitalize anything or not.
  • While I’ve never missed a week, I did accidentally label #41 as #40, so yes, we had #40 twice in a row. That’s corrected here.
  • I know this because I have a lot of readers who are Virgos.
  • Even though I talk about being a vegetarian kind of a lot, some people think that I am eating these chickens or making them into soup or things like that. Not even slightly.
  • For some reason I seem to put quotation marks in most of the early ones. Jazz hands!
  • But I’m also really inconsistent about that. Go me.
  • Chickens #15 and #32 actually have the same title, and I totally never noticed that until about five seconds ago.
  • It’s hard to say which one is better. Which one is good enough to deserve the title?
  • On the one hand, #15 has the Monty Python Lumberjack song in German, which is AWESOME.
  • But on the other hand, #32 has the Big Jew Frog. Come on!

Here they are: the first 100 chickens

(Because it’s crazy impressive seeing them all together, and because I want to pick my favorite titles and you can do it with me.)

Friday Chicken #1: a ritual is born
Friday Chicken #2: — this is the one that didn’t get a name
Friday Chicken #3: the break-up edition
Friday Chicken #4: the “internet famous” edition
Friday Chicken #5: the “Selma for Prez” edition
Friday Chicken #6: the weird dream edition
Friday Chicken #7: the glorrrrious day edition
Friday Chicken #8: the Nick Cave edition
Friday Chicken #9: the “almost naptime” edition
Friday Chicken #10: the getting chilly edition
Friday Chicken #11: the “extra weirdnesses” edition
Friday Chicken #12: the “ducks in a row” edition
Friday Chicken #13: the *spooky* edition
Friday Chicken #14: the “sigh of relief” edition
Friday Chicken #15: the “take that” edition
Friday Chicken #16: the “covered in dust” edition
Friday Chicken #17: the “you can’t make me” edition
Friday Chicken #18: the “on the road” edition
Friday Chicken #19: inlaws edition
Friday Chicken #20: Snowpocalypse edition
Friday Chicken #21: Melting icicles edition
Friday Chicken #22: the ducktastic edition
Friday Chicken #23: headless chicken edition
Friday Chicken #24: bony edition
Friday Chicken #25: kitchen freakout edition
Friday Chicken #26: Abridged edition
Friday Chicken #27: paradox-friendly edition
Friday Chicken #28: sock monkey edition
Friday Chicken #29: the “don’t be such an acetyl” edition
Friday Chicken #30: the “Fourway Pratfall” edition
Friday Chicken #31: “mustached checklist” edition
Friday Chicken #32: “take that” edition
Friday Chicken #33: “out of town” edition
Friday Chicken #34: “Arriving by Iron Horse” edition
Friday Chicken #35: Playing Chicken edition
Friday Chicken #36: “tractor trailer” edition
Friday Chicken #37: the Bam! Pow! Zap! edition
Friday Chicken #38: the you really don’t want Mark Twain haunting you edition
Friday Chicken #39: the pirate queen edition
Friday Chicken #40: tired and cranky edition
Friday Chicken #41: vacation hangover edition
Friday Chicken #42: “pirate milkmaid walks into a bar” edition
Friday Chicken #43: “Off to points either north or south” edition
Friday Chicken #44: the extra schleepy vacation edition
Friday Chicken #45: Duckwarmer edition
Friday Chicken #46: the Dreaded Diphth*ng edition
Friday Chicken #47: the Expotition edition
Friday Chicken #48: Spontaneous Fruit Party edition
Friday Chicken #49: the “off to San Francisco” edition
Friday Chicken #50: extra-crazy edition
Friday Chicken #51: “Punk By Association” edition
Friday Chicken #52: special anniversary edition
Friday Chicken #53: frizzy hair edition
Friday Chicken #54: Irony and Pixels edition
Friday Chicken #55: Blonde Chicken Chicken Chicken
Friday Chicken #56: My duck has a wardrobe. Does yours?
Friday Chicken #57: Broetchen! Edition
Friday Chicken #58: “I must have coughed”
Friday Chicken #59: Goodbye, 5769
Friday Chicken #60: “they’re indigenous, you know”
Friday Chicken #61: I have trouble with “necessary”
Friday Chicken #62: deodorant brandy edition
Friday Chicken #63: the lady and the tramp
Friday Chicken #64: pretty pretty princess edition
Friday Chicken #65: worst band name ever
Friday Chicken #66: the transition edition
Friday Chicken #67: the progably edition
Friday Chicken #68: those robot crustaceans, eh?
Friday Chicken #69: had to happen eventually
Friday Chicken #70: thrice brunched!
Friday Chicken #71: frozen pipes are not a euphemism, dammit
Friday Chicken #72: bah bah humbug blacksheep
Friday Chicken #73: special zombie chicken
Friday Chicken #74: tipsy snow angel edition
Friday Chicken #75: Fried Egg Friday edition
Friday Chicken #76: trombones
Friday Chicken #77: battle of the fake bands
Friday Chicken #78: pirate jedi monster princess silly troll chicken
Friday Chicken #79: of the what?
Friday Chicken #80: recovering from the February Cranky
Friday Chicken #81: how do I look with this monocle?
Friday Chicken #82: harvest gold edition
Friday Chicken #83: Balkan Burrito hangover
Friday Chicken #84: sweetness
Friday Chicken #85: this vacation is on purpose, baby
Friday Chicken #86: this time I mean it
Friday Chicken #87: I’m not saying it out loud though
Friday Chicken #88: Fake Band of the Week Showdown!
Friday Chicken #89: not just for zombies
Friday Chicken #90: extra stompy
Friday Chicken #91: I don’t even know what woozle means
Friday Chicken #92: Moonshine Tailbeam Waterloo Jones
Friday Chicken #93: an intrigue of spies
Friday Chicken #94: Colonel Gustard in the living room with a candlestick?
Friday Chicken #95: chickens on skates!
Friday Chicken #96: let us say wah!
Friday Chicken #97: FBOTW FTW
Friday Chicken #98: on the verge
Friday Chicken #99: bottles of beer

Okay, here are my favorite titles.

  • an intrigue of spies
  • trombones
  • Moonshine Tailbeam Waterloo Jones

And here is what I like best about chickening every Friday.

The Chickens are about choosing connection over isolation. But also about connecting to yourself.

They’re about remembering what is important and about remembering what didn’t seem important at the time. And giving meaning to things you see and feel and experience.

They’re about making room for the good while not cutting ourselves off from things that are hard and challenging.

Also: I am officially declaring Chicken Amnesty!

Not that you have to leave a comment on a Friday Chicken or ever, because you don’t. I will like you just as much either way.

But if you’re one of the people who has thought that it’s somehow a closed group or that you’ll feel weird being there, I want to give you a loving invitation to chicken with us. Consider yourself welcome always.

Yay Chickens!

A couple weeks ago I was at Pistils on Mississippi watching the chickens do their thing. And they (the store, not the chickens) were selling baby chicks.

There was a girl who was probably three, holding a purple balloon. Her daddy was buying chicks.

And she was just beside herself with joy, running up to everyone in sight and shouting YAY CHICKENS at them. It was perfect. Anyway. Yay, Chickens.

And comment zen for today …

What I would love:

  • some of your most-loved things about the Friday Chicken or other rituals
  • some of your most-loved Friday Chicken titles
  • celebrating the unlikely event of one hundred chickens (assuming I don’t screw it up and we make it to Friday).

Love to all my readers, the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who has ever been a Chickeneer of the High Seas. You guys are the greatest.