In March of '94, Archie and I drove to Austin to visit with his good friend, Joel, and to enjoy SXSW. (Why, yes, this was when we were both still in our 20s and under the illusion that we were semi-cool in our musical taste. Currently, I'm 40 and under no such illusions. I was excited last week when I actually could identify a song by a current popular group.) We stayed with Joel and his roommate Steven and ate lots of good food and attended concerts and drank lots of Shiner Bock. We slept in late (SXSW coincided with Spring Break and Joel and Steven had the week off since they were a teacher and librarian, respectively) and watched some movies in the late mornings/early afternoons. On VHS. On a tiny 13 inch TV. Remember 1994?
One early afternoon, we decided to watch "A Brief History of Time" -- an Erroll Morris documentary about Stephen Hawking. Keep in mind the 13 inch TV and also that it was a sunny afternoon. The movie starts with a field of stars and a voiceover in Hawking's IBM-manufactured voice. "Which came first -- the chicken or the egg?" And then a large chicken appears in front of all the stars.
Now, the appearance of the chicken may have been a tiny bit alarming in a theater, where it would have been extremely large. But on a small TV, it was just kind of amusing. Yet, when the chicken appeared, we all heard this squeaky gasp, and we looked to see Steven clutching at the neck of his t-shirt, and then he sort of fanned himself. We were all a bit confused and asked him what was wrong.
"The space chicken frightened me!"