Who is OR or what is OR or Why is OR still alive, currently defrosting on a suburban porch? What does OR even stand for? Is OR chicken or ham? A pet or art? A friend or a lover? Does OR have a choice in any of this or is his life completely fabricated by another? Does OR smell rotten or expired, potentially carrying a handful of diseases? Why has Ella developed a relationship over the past 6 months with a hunk of smiling meat? Are they even safe together? Has she lost her mind? Is this the tragic end result of slicing on auto for two years in minimum wage solitude while living in her parents’ windowless basement?
I’m here to tell you today that OR is more than just a 7-pound piece of meat. Although, let it be noted that OR is chicken, not ham, not a pumpkin not turkey. His name stands for Oven Roasted---Chicken.
OR is also not for everyone. I understand that there are some friends and family members out there that cannot see past his expiration date, or his skin color, or his small stature, or his chemical makeup. Perhaps they tire of our incessant display of happiness together, might I add with a tinge of jealousy. I’ll admit there has been some confusion about OR and his timeline, myself included. What follows is the semi condensed story and birth of OR and I.
December 23, 2016: During the deli shift from hell this Oven Roasted Dilusso Chicken in its entirety slipped off the slicer, out of the hands of my coworker. Without its wings, in front of a long line of customers, it flew across the deli sky and landed face first on the unclean floor. This miraculous jaw dropping event was unprecedented. I like to think the poor guy was trying to save himself from being just another neglected slice of meat in some ungrateful kid’s school lunch sandwich.
In an attempt to use my art degree to channel my frustrated energy into positive creativity, I instinctively poked a smile into the whole of the slippery oven roasted chicken, rather than walking out and quitting. Immediately after removing my fingers from the little guy’s eye holes, I thought out loud, this has the potential to be the start of something special. I then asked my boss if I could keep him. He mumbled “sure”.
That’s a 65-dollar friendship value right there, for free. We then proceeded to take 37 selfies together in our deli upbringing, marking the beginning of OR and I, the origin of us.
Upon returning home, I introduced OR to my parents and asked them kindly to not eat my new friend, our fresh roommate. They agreed. I whispered goodnight, placing OR in a drawer in the family fridge.
Our relationship developed naturally and mutually, over time and trust. This process took longer than I would have preferred, but I understand that one cannot overcome such a traumatic past in a mere slice. OR needed the time and space to heal, as he would frequently experience the reoccurring nightmare of what could have been: Death by slicer on auto to the overplayed deli tune of Sheryl Crow’s “The First Cut is the Deepest”.
As I set out to give OR the life he would have never had, OR had to warm up to me, my parents and the burbs in general. He needed to get a feel for his new environment; the carpet, the white walls, the clean showers, the quiet. More importantly, I had to earn his trust. Daily I assured him that I will never hurt him, nor slice him, nor eat him, nor drop him, nor sell him for as long as we both shall live.
On January 30th, 2017 I asked OR if he wanted to take the next step and play with me outside, to go public with our relationship. OR looked me in the eyes and with that sweet smile of his said “OK”. Let’s do this, let’s live life on the other side of the deli walls. This. Is. freedom.
We put our similar head sizes together and have been inseparable ever since. I can’t say it enough, OR is just the best. Together we have experienced seasons of blue sky play dates, cold winter snowball fights, and loads of stranger stares. We’ve climbed trees, fallen off swings, worked out to Drake, gossiped over pillow talk, played ball, flipped through countless issues of PEOPLE magazine. We've spent our nights debating our existence, questioning our identity. There's been spa days, Food Network marathon binges, and dance parties to Kendrick in a wobbulator. We've watched the Jayhawks lose, ate more chicken at Chick-Fil-A, sucked down Frostys at Wendys, skipped school, smoked cigarettes outside of Dunkin Donuts, and took approximately 780 selfies along the way.
Perhaps the highlight of OR's life was our recent shopping date to Target, the epitome of the American suburban mom, consumer dream. I knew if there was one thing OR had to experience before death it was this, for Target is for everyone, universally loved! Red shirts and khakis for all! For almost everything OR touched we bought. And then we laughed because it’s like hashtag “When you walk into Target in need of toothpaste and zit cream and end up spending hundreds of dollars!! Target am I right!?”
Despite the smiles, the truth is, OR stinks. While his stench is increasing, His complexion is fading. His time is long past due, embarking upon 7 months expired. Sadly, OR is getting old. OR is truly dying.
OR waddles between cute and grotesque, intimate and generic, processed and ORganic. OR is a choice. OR asks hard questions. What is a real friend? What is the good life? What or who are we living for? OR projects alternative realities. OR promotes possibilities and creativity. OR compares and contrasts. OR connects and bridges the gap between this or that, him or her, chicken or ham, play or reality, self or other, mind or body, life and/or death.
No one predicted OR would live more than 5-7 days past his expiration date, not even OR himself. 6 months later, still smiling and I would call OR a damn near miracle. Although his departure had been prolonged due to procrastination, good health and attachment issues, I can rest easy knowing that I tried my best to give OR the life he deserved, the good life. That being said, we could not have done it without YOU and your support. Thank you for all your positive vibes, energy, thoughts, likes, hearts, comments, shares, good feelings, snaps, smiles and texts during these last days.
Due to the impending threats from the roomies, in addition to all the above, next week will be OR's final week FOR REAL. This Saturday afternoon, June 3, I'm hosting a live memorial with a living OR at Memorial Park. This event will function as a meet and greet slash performance piece. This will be a chance to say goodbye in the flesh and/or perhaps hello for the first time. If you feel so inclined, all cards, drawings and notes can be hand delivered or addressed to 7827 N 154th Ave Bennington, NE 68007. Nylon gloves, nose plugs, ham and a selfie stick will be provided. I know OR would love to hear from you and/OR meet you.
With all our gratitude and love,
OR and Ella
Check out my Instagram for more photos and videos, website will be updated soon.