Ok everyone.  Let’s all have a seat.  Now hold the hands of the loved ones around you.  We’re about to go over a certain discovery that will require great inner strength.  So call forth your spiritual deity – be it baby Jesus, Vishnu, Batman, the Dali Lama or Snoopy.  Call them forth right this moment.

Ready?  Let us begin.

First, let’s discuss the male species and their ownership of testicles.  We all know what they look like on a wide variety of animals.  Mice have a set that can be seen across the room, cats have an arrogant pert set of maracas back there, dogs tend to have a rather vulgar pair where the cousins hang dangerously low (especially in hound dogs) and sheep testicles look like an alarming surgical emergency.

So let’s think about this.  A rooster is a male chicken.  And this male chicken produces sperm to fertilize the female’s eggs; therefore, they must own a pair of testicles.  Well, of course they do.  I’ve never questioned that.  I’ve just never given thought to a rooster and his testicles.  I’ve seen roosters.  I’ve never seen a rooster’s man berries.  Have you?

Now let’s flash back to a few months ago when Steve and I got together with some of my vettie friends to home-kill some chooks.  Remember that little episode?  Ok, so we slaughtered the chickens, cleaned the carcasses and pooled the giblets together so the American Southerners could cook up a treat and bring them to class the next day to get everyone’s reaction.

My vettie buddy and I were both raised on giblet gravy and fried chicken livers.  With the right seasoning, they are so delicious.  Steve, on the other hand, won’t even touch the bag of giblets that comes in the frozen carcass of the grocery store chicken.  He pulls it out with a long pair of tongs and runs it outside to throw away in the garbage bin.

Giblets consist of the chicken neck, liver, heart and gizzard.  Sure that sounds like gross organ meat, but when you’ve been raised on it, it is no different than eating chicken breast.  My friend tossed the giblets in some perfectly seasoned flour, fried them up and brought them to class the next day.  I nibbled on some liver and ate some heart.  Then my friend said kidneys were also in there.  I’d never eaten chicken kidneys before and balked at doing so.  Then I reminded myself that I just greedily devoured a gizzard so I tried my first ever chicken kidney.  Many students squealed and fled from the treats but a good few were game and gave the Southern food a taste.

To continue this story, we now need to flash forward several weeks to our Comparative Anatomy lab.  We were dissecting chickens.  My lab group and I were distracted by a wonderful discovery – our chicken was filled with eggs in different stages of development.  But then Nikki came to my table, face white, and asked me “do you have a male chicken”?  I told her no, but look at all these cool eggs!  She wasn’t interested.  She had something grave she needed to speak to me about.

She grabbed me by my elbow and led me to another dissected chicken – a rooster.  She said “look”.  I peered into the carcass and I saw two lobular structures, both perfectly kidney-shaped and attached to the dorsal body wall at the location of kidneys, just like in a cat, dog, and human.

Only, they weren’t kidneys at all.  They were testicles.

We unknowingly ate chicken testicles.

We unknowingly fed chicken testicles to our classmates.

We are idiots.

After coming to terms with this most bizarre learning experience, I got a message from one of my friends.  It read: “So, isn’t this, like, the second time you’ve misidentified testicles?”

Yes my friend, yes it is.  Reproductive anatomy is apparently not my forte.

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