Dear Valued Coworkers,

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce my resignation from my position as Senior Vice President of Operations at First Valley Solutions. I’ve loved every minute of my eleven years at this company, but I’m afraid my managerial reputation has been irreplaceably tarnished by the events of April 18 or as everyone else calls it “the day I lost a game of tic-tac-toe to a chicken.”

I still stand by my idea to have our staff picnic have a county fair theme, including funnel cake, a Ferris Wheel, and a tic-tac-toe playing chicken by the name of Mr. Clucky. In retrospect, perhaps I shouldn’t have loudly invited every member of staff to come watch me “roast this bird” at tic-tac-toe. Nor should I have so vociferously ridiculed Marcia in sales for losing her match, calling her a “bird brain” and wondering aloud if maybe the chicken would have better luck handling the Morrison account. And perhaps if when I lost, I hadn’t accused Mr. Clucky of cheating and demanded a rematch, then lost that rematch, demanded another one, lost again, and then threatened to kill and eat the chicken with “ketchup and ranch” then this all could have been forgotten.

But, I do not see myself as wholly to blame.

Truly, I do not see a way forward as your manager with my reputation so tarnished by your months of pranks and abuse. It started small, asking if I wanted chicken for lunch, wishing me an “eggcellent” weekend, and putting eggs under my chair in meetings as if I was the one laying them. I will admit my intensely angry reactions to even the smallest pranks may have encouraged you. However, I cannot abide members of my team filling my desk drawers with ketchup and ranch, changing every notification sound on my phone to clucking, and somehow teaching my infant son to say “Dada” every time he sees a chicken.

Maybe this storm would have passed, except for the events of August 28, known to everyone else as “The Rematch.” In an unprecedented display of intra-office teamwork, you decided to use the entire year’s activity fund to rent a small wrestling arena to stage a rematch between me and Mr. Clucky. You designed posters, ran a commercial on local radio, and even flew out my mom and dad from Orlando for the rematch of the “Hen-tury.”

I’m ashamed to admit that I trained for weeks before the big day. I played constant games of tic-tac-toe on my phone. I read articles about avian psychology. I watched Chicken Run every night before bed to get into the mind of my enemy. How could I, a human man with opposable thumbs, the ability for higher reasoning, and a mortgage lose to a simple Gallus Gallus Domesticus?

What a fool I was.

As I climbed into that ring, with my entire family, all of my coworkers, and over 10,000 strangers watching on livestream, I stared that chicken in its beady little eyes and knew I had already lost. Six moves later, it was over. The ref hoisted that chicken high above me while I wept on the mat. My humiliation was complete. After the match I even caught my father telling people he was the chicken’s dad, not mine.

And that, my valued coworkers, is why I must resign from First Valley Solutions. I know there have been rumors swirling about the CEO replacing me with Mr. Clucky. While every member of this organization respects that five-pound bird more than they ever respected me, I’m sure my replacement will be a human. I can only hope that they learn from my mistakes. Don’t underestimate mother nature. Don’t stake your entire professional reputation on a carnival game. And don’t panic and choose the top middle square when playing the most important game of tic-tac-toe of your life.

Peter McCallister

P.S. To all of you jokesters who sent my resume to KFC, jokes on you because you’re looking at the new Associate Manager of Poultry Commercialization.