To Give Away: One Happy Rooster

Yesterday, Rita posted a free rooster to give away on a local Facebook page. She was surprised that no one claimed him. I waxed empathic, “I don’t understand,” I said, “people always want free things. Getting a free rooster would make the right person very happy.”

We’ve been studying happiness, but not the smiley sort of happiness. We’re into Aristotelian eudaimonic happiness (of course we are). You know, the sort of happiness you experience from living your life in ways that honor others and consistent with your deep values. That just might involve high-quality daily interactions with a free rooster. Think about it.

I was so puzzled by not having our rooster snapped up for immediate adoption that I took to the streets. Really, it was just one street. We’re living in Absarokee for the summer; there are streets, but not very many, and I only spent time on one street.

I cleverly wove the rooster opportunity into my banking business. With only two employees left in the bank on a late Friday afternoon, I asked with great cheer, “Would either of you like a free rooster?” They both quickly said “No thanks,” but I got my transaction processed in record time.

Rita was still in the grocery store (we were dividing and conquering our errands). I marched in, offered to carry her beer, and announced, “Hey. Anybody want a free rooster?” The cashiers avoided eye contact. The bagger started talking about his pigs; they made him happy. He didn’t need a rooster. I guess that proves it’s possible to have too much happiness.

Despite repeated rejections, I’m still convinced that our rooster could bring free happiness to someone. In fact, I think our failed transactions are evidence that happiness is in the eye of the beholder. When I was a teenager, our neighbors got a rooster. We woke up every morning to fantasies of murdering the neighbor’s rooster. I started plotting a late-night abduction. After all, roosters are the mother of opportunity. [I know that’s a wrong and terrible butchering of the saying “necessity is the mother of invention,” and I know that butchering must be the wrong word here, but I’m typing fast and consequently it’s impossible for me to suppress or repress my aggression and mother issues when free associating at this pace. Freud would be happy. But then Freud had his own peculiar tastes regarding what made him happy, which is, of course my point.

The famous Peanuts cartoonist, Charles Shulz, wrote a book titled, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” Although warm puppies likely bring happiness for many people, they’re certainly not the recipe for happiness for everyone. If I recall correctly, for Linus, happiness was a warm blanket.

And I can’t stop myself from thinking that, perhaps, for some lucky person out there . . .

. . . happiness is a warm, free, pet rooster.   

If you’re that person, contact me, because right now, for me, happiness is giving away a free pet rooster.

12 thoughts on “To Give Away: One Happy Rooster”

  1. Oh my, John. Under different circumstances (like a year ago) I would have brought your happy rooster home to my 5 happy hens.
    I like them crowing because I sleep through my alarms and I enjoy getting up ROOSTER EARLY in the hot summer. And another joyous occasion brought on by a rooster is the hatching of baby chicks who dash under the Mama hen’s feathers whenever startled and peek out through the feathers to see if the coast is clear. Alas, I am saddened by the closing of this VERY happy chapter of my life. Selling the farm, selling and giving away happy hens. Good luck. People just don’t have a tolerance for such happiness anymore. 🐣🐥🐓 but where is the rooster?

    1. Oh my Nadine. I’m glad to hear of your happy hen and rooster memories, but I’m sorry to hear you’re selling the farm. I hope you can find the perfect next transition location. Maybe you can have bunnies . . . or chocolate bunnies! John

  2. I say patience. Just feed him a little bit longer. Someone will decide to be happy in this way, and adopt him. Might just be a monthly invite.

  3. Hi John,
    I am, at this moment, watching the video of your presentation on the suicide summit (and feeling very validated in my practice, BTW), which is what brought me to your website. And I read this wonderful post on the free rooster, and I loved it.

    Now, I’ve always been a cat person (or at least, since I was in my late teens and my younger brother brought home a mean stray, who then went on to have a couple of litters..). But we recently had to put my son’s dog down, and while he was Santa’s biggest mistake, a loved and valued member of our family. I don’t miss cleaning up his accidents, but I miss the daily interaction. And since I’ve been doing more gardening this year, I might be interested in adding a rooster… but I don’t think my wife would like it. And, since we don’t have any chickens, I find myself asking, “Would it make the rooster happy?”

    Best of luck in finding him a new home. And thanks so much for both the terrific presentation and this little bit of humor.


    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the nice and affirming note. I’m glad you appreciated the free rooster story . . . and that you felt validated.

      I agree that adding a rooster is a family decision because of the significant family systems changes that accompany adding a new “personality” to the mix. And considering what would make the rooster happy, that’s incredibly empathic.

      Thanks again for the note and have a great time in the garden. Our chard and kale have been amazing this year.


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