Dear studious reader,
Our daughter came home from middle school the other day with an assignment — to write a five-paragraph essay explaining how to do something. Her dad and I had fun joking about the possible topics she could choose. How to Pester Your Baby Sister. How to Coerce Your Parents into Another I-Tunes Purchase. How to Avoid Washing the Dishes. As you can imagine, she was not amused by our suggestions.
It was only after her evening chores that she was inspired to write her essay. Again, Sam and I offered up amusing takes on the topic, but she said she would just tell it straight — that it didn’t need any embellishments. I think she was right.
So, in unedited copy, here is Grace Ivey’s essay:
Knowing how to catch a chicken is a very important skill to master. Whether a chicken has escaped the henhouse, or you need to capture one for dinner, it’s good to have a plan. The basic three steps are getting prepared, cornering the chicken, and grabbing the chicken.
First, get ready by putting on protective clothing. Wear either a long-sleeve shirt or a coat to protect your arms, and a pair of thick gloves. Then, make sure you are wearing long pants, in case the chicken attacks.
Next, find a specific corner you want to chase the chicken into. Once you’ve found a corner, find a route to scare the bird directly into it. Then, make sure all other escape routes, besides to the corner, are blocked. After that, get behind the chicken and herd it into the designated area. Block the way out of the corner with your body.
Finally, hold out your hands and quickly grab the chicken so that you’re holding down its flapping wings. Make sure the head is faced away from you, so it can’t peck you. Then, you can carry it and move it anywhere you want.
After you go to the hassle of all this, it pays off. Whether your mother makes warm chicken noodle soup or you just put the chicken back where it should be, this task always ends with a feeling of satisfaction … and exhaustion.
P.S. I reprinted this essay with Grace’s permission, with the understanding that I inform readers that it was written under the duress of her language arts class, in case someone should mistakenly think she did this for fun.