One of the main reasons to go to meetings – sometimes the only one – is so they don’t assign you stuff. The worst tasks tend to get assigned to those who aren’t there.
I didn’t realize how widespread this phenomenon was, until reminded by a comment by “Dave” at http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/10/the-negative-externality-of-voting.html#comments
[There is an] African story of why the chicken is the sacrificial animal of choice: All animals were headed to a meeting with the gods, but the chicken decided he could not bothered to attend this meeting. He asked the animals to convey his good wishes to the gods, and added his declaration to support and abide by the resolutions of the meeting. As it turned out, the meeting was meant as a forum to discuss the rampant harassment that man had begun to cause them since he learned to offer blood sacrifice to his gods.
After a long debate, the animals accepted and passed unanimously, a resolution to offer the chicken to man as his primary sacrificial animal. This has remained so till this day!