21Jun2020

The committee system

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One bright sunny morning a jolly rooster did what he had done a thousand times before and announced the beginning of the new day with his characteristic—if not suitably endorsed, trademarked—“Cock-a-doodle-do”.

Happy in the knowledge that he had done his duty, the jolly rooster went back home to have a rest.

On arriving home, the jolly rooster noticed an envelope pinned to the front door of his house. He opened the envelope and there was a letter inside that read

Dear Jolly Rooster,

It has been reported that your morning call contained a word that could be misunderstood by the rest of the community. The specific word was “doodle”. Would you please remove the word “doodle” from your morning calls in future.

Thank you

The farmer.

The jolly rooster did not feel too jolly after reading this letter. He thought to himself, “I wonder who reported my morning call to the farmer?

The jolly rooster wrote back to the farmer with a letter that said,

Dear Farmer,

I have referred your request to rephrase my early morning calls in future to the Committee of Farm Animals [CFA] and the head of the committee will reply with their verdict.

Thank you

Jolly Rooster

The farmer received the jolly rooster's letter and replied, “Thank you. I will let the CFA decide.”

About an hour later, the head of the CFA convened an extraordinary meeting of the committee to discuss the matter. The animals were very excited because they could not remember the last time when the farmer had asked them for their opinions on anything.

“I say that the word ‘doodle’ is ambiguous and needs to be properly explained. The word could be misunderstood by other animals in the community,” said the goose

“Baa-humbug”, said the ram (who was also president of the CFA), “I say the farmer should butt out of official animal business.”

“Who elected the jolly rooster to be the official spokesfowl, anyway?” said the shop steward of the Chicken’s Union.

The jolly rooster couldn’t believe his ears.

The goose hissed in protest, “The word ‘doodle’ means something other than what we believe it should mean. I vote that the word ‘doodle’ should be replaced with ‘cackle’”

The jolly rooster wondered if he was being turned into a goose. “But I only said what has been the agreed practice of the community for years,” he said a bit sheepishly, “that, as the first one to wake up in the morning, I would only say ‘cock-a-doodle-do’. I would enjoy a bit of a sleep-in occasionally and it wouldn’t bother me if someone else took over; I’ve even thought about learning to play the violin …”

The jolly rooster was about to inform the rest of the animals about his future musical prospects but the CFA did not hear hear him.  The president of the committee became angry. “I wish the geese would butt-out because it is none of their business.  The context of ‘doodle’ in the jolly rooster’s announcement implies a meaning that anyone who doesn’t have feathers for brains would obviously understand but, if it will make the farmer happy, we could change the jolly rooster’s announcement to something else.”

The secretary of the CFA proposed a new draft policy for future jolly rooster announcements. Henceforward, “cock-a-doodle-do” will be replaced by “cock-a-redacted-do.”  The new policy was immediately implemented without taking a formal vote.  There was a lot of clucking after the meeting.

“Gobble-gobble,” gobbled the turkey.  The jolly rooster tried to imitate the turkey but the only sound that came from his beak was a strangled squawk.

So, the jolly rooster joined the Brotherhood of Trappist Roosters, took a vow of silence and was never heard from again. The hens stopped laying and egg production ceased. In order to cut his losses, the farmer decided turn the pig into bacon and the turkey became Christmas dinner.

The moral of the story:  Don’t over-noodle your doodle because you can be sure there’ll be committee that’ll diddle with your fiddle.

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