Lloyd Garver: If they build it, people will complain
We are in the midst of the biggest recall in American history. Obviously, I'm talking about eggs. Many of us have worried about this danger for years, but we were branded as "alarmists." These eggs have proven to be a huge danger to the health and vitality of our nation. Now, just to rub it in, I've heard rumors that the American Poultry and Egg Society is building a cultural center in Iowa. What makes it worse is that they plan on building this only a few hundred yards from Wright County Egg - where many of the tainted eggs came from. I don't mind the society having a building to educate the public about chicken and eggs. However, it is incredibly insensitive of them to have the center so close to the site of this disaster.
I don't feel I have to be politically correct when it comes to chickens. This is a democracy and the Land of the Free and all that stuff, so we have always permitted all foods to be eaten here. However, traditionally, the United States has been Meat Country. Beef was considered to be one of the healthiest foods. We ate red meat to get stronger. Then along came some "scientific" research that claimed that things like "cholesterol" and other invisible "dangerous" chemicals were in red meat, and that chicken was healthier for us. Oh, really? When was the last time a steer with salmonella laid an infected egg?
In American tradition, chicken and eggs are not on the same level as many other foods. For example, we eat turkey on Thanksgiving. A Christmas goose or ham is on many tables. Can you imagine there ever being a tradition in our country of having people over on Flag Day to eat an omelet?
The disease that these eggs carry, obviously, comes from hens. And how do these hens get it? They get it by eating feed that has been infiltrated by rat or mouse droppings. Even those on the political left must see this as disgusting.
The touchy-feely, latte-drinking San Francisco liberals will tell you that chickens should be treated the same way that we treat all other animals that we eat. That's a good idea in theory, but no other animal's disease has invaded our country on this scale. Half a billion - that's billion with a B - eggs have been recalled. To give you a visual, if you put a billion eggs end to end around the world, well, uh, it sure would make a mess.
So while it's true that the majority of chickens (and their eggs) may pose no threat to America, the threat from a minority of them is so great that we have to be wary of all chickens. I'm not chicken-phobic, but times have changed. We must be vigilant. Those who make their living from chickens should be sensitive to this fact and put their Poultry Cultural Center somewhere other than in the middle of America's farm country. A good place might be downtown Manhattan.
I also can't help wondering if some of these eggs were smuggled into the United States from other countries. Doesn't half a billion sound like a huge number of eggs to come just from Iowa? This is something that I hope the government will look into. We should take precautions just in case our enemies are using tainted eggs to weaken the greatest nation in the world. It's just possible that we finally have an answer to that old question: "Why did the chicken cross the road?" "Because there weren't enough border guards to stop him."
Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Home Improvement" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. He can be reached at email@example.com. Check out his website at lloydgarver.com and his podcasts on iTunes.