Why Did the Chicken Really Cross the Road?

Why did the chicken cross the road?
- To get to the other side.
Why did the chicken cross the road?

This is a joke that has been around for longer than anyone can remember, probably. I think it’s such a classic and timeless joke because of its obvious and “lame” nature: “DUH!”

However, when dissecting this joke, the deeper and existential meaning of the joke comes forward. Why did the chicken cross the road? What does ‘the road’ represent? Is it literally a road, or does it have some kind of a hidden meaning?

If it literally means a road/street, let’s think about what we consider to be a road. According to dictionary.com, the definition of “road” is “a long, narrow stretch with a smoothed or paved surface, made for travelling by motor vehicle, carriage, etc.” Now, let’s focus on the important part of this definition: made for travelling by motor vehicle.

Uh oh.

This is troubling.

Did anyone else suddenly get the sinking heart feeling with an immediate and strong concern for the chicken? THE CHICKEN MUST NOT GO ON A ROAD WHERE THERE MAY BE MOVING VEHICLES!

While I try not to sympathise animals as if I were above them and/or their protector, the sudden worry is undeniable. Why? Because I believe that the chicken probably does not have the understanding of a moving vehicle as humans might.

Now, we have to rely on the driver to notice the chicken and slow down. But is that possible?

I’m assuming that the road in question is a quiet, flat farm road. (Let’s all assume that my assumption is right, as the whole analysis wouldn’t work otherwise.)

The driver, presumably, is going at least 100kmph as most cars would be able to do on quiet farm roads. S/he does not expect to see a small moving stray animal - probably. So, will the driver stop in time for the road-crossing chicken?

I’m afraid not.

Now, we’re almost at the conclusion.

Does the chicken joke hint at something deeper and more gruesome than we ever imagined?

Are we foreseeing the chicken’s suicide?

So, ‘to get to the other side’ is really ‘to get to the other side’? As in, death? The unknown, mysterious place of the dead? The opposite side to the place of the living?

Here we can come up with many reasons why this chicken wanted to commit suicide, assuming that the analysis of the joke was correct. What was the chicken sad/depressed/angry about that she felt she needed to end her life? Does this argument come down to the topic of animal abuse in the end?

Now, consider a different analysis where the ‘road’ does not literally mean ‘road’, but a metaphor for something else. In this case, ‘crossing the road’ itself can be interpreted as the crossing to the other side of life, to the place of the dead. Maybe the chicken was old and was preparing for a quiet and peaceful death. Maybe the chicken committed suicide. I don’t know.

I feel that this chicken had so much more on her mind than we give her credit for. We have been blatantly laughing about her decision/preparedness to end it all.

I think this calls for a much waited, much needed moment of silence for the chicken.

May the chicken rest in peace.