The ultimate question: fight orangutans or chickens?


Canva by Bek Lopez.

Joey Harinsky, Former Deputy Culture Editor

This previously ran in our December 2022 print issue.

One of my classes is certainly one of the most interesting courses you can take at the high school. 

While the majority of class is spent learning and working, the collection of people within can often lead to interesting discussions: one topic that is brought up once in a while is “would you rather” — a quite self-explanatory jumping off point for a discussion. 

The most interesting “would you rather” happened a few months ago and it’s one I would like to revisit. 

Would you rather have to kill a chicken every time you wake up, OR, once a year have to fight a giant orangutan with a sword (you both get swords). 

Toward the end of class, when all of our work is done, many of us will sit down and delineate such questions, as if we were in a Socratic Seminar. 

Everyone needs to be in agreement because there always ends up being too many open-ended questions over these “would you rathers.” 

Is the chicken attacking you? How large is the orangutan? What happens to you if you don’t kill the chicken? 

And after much deliberation, and much writing on the whiteboard, we came to an agreed upon set of rules for each of the two options. 

In regards to the chicken, you must kill it with your bare hands. You have to fight it every single time you wake up (including naps) and the chicken is attacking you, so you simply can’t ignore it, but you can then sell the chicken once you have killed it. 

If you choose not to kill the chicken, however, you will die, which would be unfortunate for most people (and would be a very embarrassing way to die). 

In regards to general rules about fighting the orangutan: it is a large orangutan that has also been given a sword. It’s not immediately trying to kill you, but it will when you attack it, and you can televise the fight to make a profit. 

The orangutan in question was decided to be King Louie from the Disney film The Jungle Book, which if you’ve seen that movie, you’ll know is not exactly the smallest opponent in the world. Quite the opposite, in fact. 

For your weapon, you have the choice of sword, but it has to be a sword that exists in the real world (no lightsabers, I’m sorry). 

The easiest way to decide this is to go through the positives and negatives of each option, so let’s start with the chicken. 

Fighting a chicken is obviously easier than fighting a large orangutan; and while the chicken will be pecking at you, it cannot do any serious damage to you (besides maybe plucking your eyes). 

You could then turn it into a side hustle, earning a little bit of cash with all the chickens you can sell to farmers. 

Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end, and in my opinion, the negatives of killing the chicken far outweigh the positives. 

The biggest issue with killing the chicken is how annoying it would be. 

Imagine waking up for school: it’s say 6 a.m., you’ve slept only five hours after a very long day and hours of homework, and you are exhausted. Then boom: a chicken is pecking at your face. 

So now you have to wake up every single day for the rest of your life and take the life of an innocent animal or you die. 

Now in regards to the orangutan, the fight is going to be much more challenging, but it’s only one fight a year. 

At the end of every year, you are locked into a stadium, just you and the orangutan with nothing but a sword at your side. 

However, the orangutan is not immediately attempting to kill you – you are given a chance. The rest of the year you could train to master sword fighting. 

Sure, the orangutan is bigger and stronger than you, but it does not know how to sword fight. 

Plus, imagine all the money you could make; surely there’s a large market for an audience of people willing to watch a man fight an orangutan. 

I know that my family, friends, and I would gather around the biggest TV we could find every year to watch a man swordfight a large monkey. 

That would be amazing. And I’m sure betting on the fight would be fun. 

On the other hand, you’re way more likely to die fighting an orangutan than a chicken, but that’s the only negative. 

Sure, dying is a big negative, quite possibly the biggest, but if you train and focus, you’ve got a chance. 

Personally I, as well as the majority of people I have spoken to, would rather fight the orangutan. 

To be fair, it is dangerous, but also more exhilarating. It would give you and everyone you know some- thing to look forward to at the end of the year, and it’s only once a year, not once or even multiple times a day, unlike the chicken. 

“Would you rathers” prompt interesting discussions, especially the wilder the question; a favorite of mine being: would you rather build a Boeing 747 from scratch by yourself, or fight a silverback gorilla with your choice of a weapon? 

Perhaps the human race has a problem wanting to fight large apes. 

It doesn’t really matter what you’re discussing, as long as it’s fun and with people you like talking to. 

So I pose the question to you: would you rather have to kill a chicken every time you wake up for the rest of your life or have to fight an orangutan with a sword once a year?