Advertisers often do not play fair.
    For instance, I recently saw a television ad wherein pizza was being peddled. The featured pizza was piled high with all of my favorite toppings and was baptized with a copious amount of mouth-watering cheese. There was so much luscious melted cheese being portrayed that I could feel my waistline beginning to expand simply from watching the commercial.
    After the ad ended, I suddenly noticed an odd dampness in my lap. Only then did I realize I had forgotten to close my mouth and drool had pooled on my thighs.
    The main problem I had with that ad was that it did not tell the whole story. That particular ad should have come with a legal disclaimer which said: “Warning! Consuming this level of calories multiple times a day every day will make you look like the Pillsbury Doughboy.”
    Another example of advertisers not playing fair can be seen these days at our local farm supply store. This time of the year – with spring in the air and new life appearing in some shockingly bizarre nooks and crannies – your typical farm supply store plays unfairly by placing water tanks full of baby chicks in full view of the public.
    Let me clarify that a bit. The water tanks are those galvanized oval affairs and do not have any actual water in them. And as for the chicks, it is not like they are stacked up to the brim. There are generally just enough chicks in the tank to partially cover its wood chip-bestrewn bottom.
    The reason this is so unfair is due to the fact that baby chicks are so darn cute. People cannot help but pause to watch those cute little fuzz balls as they scoot around the bottom of the water tank, cheep-cheeping cutely, eating cutely and yes, even pooping cutely. You are not normal if you are not seized by the urge to take several dozen – oh heck, let’s make it an even 100 – of those adorable little fuzz balls home with you.
    The trouble is, those cute little fuzz balls remain neither cute nor fuzzy for very long. In a matter of weeks, they will transform into ugly, half-fuzz, half-feathered creatures that bear scant resemblance to the darling hatchlings you brought home. Which is why I feel that putting baby chicks on public display constitutes unfair advertising.
    I have first-hand knowledge of this due to a persistently cold and damp spring we experienced when I was a kid. Dad, as was his custom back then, had brought 100 or so baby chicks home from our local hatchery. Because of the enduring cold and damp weather, Dad opted to temporarily house the baby chicks in an empty upstairs bedroom of our farmhouse.
    This delighted my siblings and me as it was thus very convenient for us to visit the cute little critters. But the weather remained chilly and miserable for quite some time, well after the chicks had lost much of their cuteness. Dad knew it was time to move the chicks out to the coop when our pastor paid a visit and was startled by the sound of adolescent crowing drifting down from upstairs.
    When I was growing up, chicken care was the traditional bailiwick of farm wives. Grandma Nelson was an inveterate poultrywoman, even though Grandpa tended to scoff at her picayune farm animals.
    Grandpa was a fan of horses and cows, which partially explained his attitude toward Grandma’s puny, two-legged feathered livestock. Never mind that Ma’s egg money (as Grandpa called Grandma’s poultry profits) probably paid for some of his clothes along with a few niceties for the house.
    None of that did a thing to change Grandpa’s opinion of Grandma’s chickens. Indeed, I recall one moonlit night when I was deputized to help Grandpa and Grandma catch their chickens who, despite having brains the size of peas, had somehow hatched a successful plan to fly the coop. It was a challenge to catch the wayward birds by flashlight and put the squawking, flapping creatures back into their rightful place.
    As he nabbed yet another loudly protesting hen from a low-hanging branch, Grandpa muttered to me, “The best way to get a Leghorn out of a tree is with a shotgun.”
    And, I bet Grandpa was hoping Grandma would never again lay eyes on one of those unfair newspaper ads for baby chicks.
    Jerry is a recovering dairy farmer from Volga, South Dakota. He and his wife, Julie, have two grown sons and live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 110 years ago. Jerry currently works full time for the Dairy Star as a staff writer/ad salesman. Feel free to E-mail him at: jerry.n@dairystar.com.