The Upsetting True Meaning Of That 'Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road' Joke

According to a man on Twitter called Nick, anyway

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Ask anyone why did the chicken cross the road? and they will, normal childhood allowing, immediately answer to get to the other side.

It's one of the first jokes most of us ever learn, a staple of schoolyards since it first appeared in a New York City magazine called The Knickerbocker in 1847.

The assumption - in this office at least - was always that it was an anti-joke, an early introduction to the concept of irony. The chicken is simply trying to get where he is going. Why did you expect a punchline, moron? It's the first joke you learn that feels clever rather than silly.

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That is until some guy called Nick popped up on Twitter to ruin a tiny piece of our shared childhoods forever.

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Nick's contention - and presumably that of the 165,000 people (and counting) who have endorsed him - is that the joke is actually about suicide.

In Nick's reading your road-bound chicken is not simply going about his everyday, earthly business of getting from A to B but making a fatalistic bid for the 'other side' of the poultry afterlife.

The chicken in Nick's joke is standing there by the side of a busy motorway, peering unsteadily into a blur of killer steel, the roar of the engines filling his tiny chicken ears, his little red chicken claw scratching the tarmac in mounting courage, thinking about his chicken wife and chicken chicks who were taken off to the slaughterhouse not hours before.

Nick's chicken is closing his beady chicken eyes now and propelling himself forward, crap wings flapping, into the welcome embrace of a 70-miles-per-hour Ford Escort. Nick's chicken is slopped across the road, guts and feathers everywhere, his little chicken soul floating up to 'the other side', one less chicken in a cruel chicken-hating world.

So yeah. Thanks for that, Nick.