Monthly Archives: March 2013

Just Ducky!

We needed to give away a few of our ducks, having the male/female ratio disproportionate in the wrong direction. I had made mention to Deirdre that we weren’t going to catch them right away in the morning (meeting up with the recipient at 2:30pm), but that when we were going to, we would herd them all inside the coop and close the doors. This would make it much easier to choose the right ones to get rid of, because, of course, it was very important to Deirdre that we keep the “right” drakes.

Deirdre came in beaming a bit bashfully (yes, that is physically possible; but I didn’t have a camera to capture the moment for you).

“Well, I have good news and bad news!” she proclaimed.

“Okay,” I said. “What’s the good news and bad news?”

“Well, first I’ll tell you the good news. The good news is that now I definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY know for sure which male harlequin to keep!” Thus she declares like Christmas has come.

“And what’s the bad news?”

“Oh. . .well, . . .I forgot to make sure the gate was closed, so all the ducks went to the creek.”

Head bonk. Head bonk. Head bonk.

So, after preparing our box for transportation, I explain to Deidre we will have to herd the ducks from the creek to the coop, so we properly capture our prey. Deirdre insists we can catch them at the creek.

“How on earth do you think we can do that with out getting soaked to our underdandies?”

“BOOTS! We’ll wear boots!”

“How is that going to keep our underdandies dry? In case you didn’t notice the creek is deeper than our boots, and guess what? The ducks, when they’re in the water? Splash a lot. And when they’re chased? They splash more!”

Nonetheless, she was insistent we could catch them at the creek.

“Fine,” I finally said. “We’ll go down to the creek. YOU can try to catch them–not me!–and when it doesn’t work, then we’ll herd them back up to the coop.”

“It will too work! BOOTS!”

(No, this is not a three year old. I don’t blame you for being confused.)

So we trundle outside, heading toward the creek.

Quank. Quank. Qu-quank.

Sharp left turn executed. All the ducks are no longer at the creek. Closer inspection required.

Ducks, being the brilliant creatures that they are, don’t quite get the concept of fences. Pekin (who may be soon named Mary Lou), the two Rouen drakes, and Gertrude are all inside the fence, just by the coop. All four Harlequins are outside the fence, just by the coop.

Bam. Closed the far side of the coop. Ushered in the Harlequins. Bam. Closed the near side of the coop. Catch one, catch two, and the box is taped shut. Isabelle and her “boyfriend” (as Deirdre refers to him; he may soon be dubbed Joseph) are let out of the coop.

That’s the neatest, cleanest, quietest, calmest duck catching I’ve ever done in my life, oops-I-left-the-gate-open notwithstanding.



I suppose this is a rather quaint, stereotypical thought. . .but it is becoming more and more inescapable for me.

There appears to be an ever increasing romanticisation of a really bad attitude. Not always even a “tough” attitude. Just. . .plain old rotten, in more ways than one.

You see it all the time in social media circles. On any given day, I can scroll through my meager feed, and easily pull up examples.

There is the “Painful Ha-Ha.” “No, no, I am listening. It just takes me a minute to process so much stupid all at once.” It kind of makes you laugh, but the spirit behind it isn’t really funny. There is the Self-Absorbed, in their own words, and in the countless “ditch the people who don’t make you happy!!” messages. This, combined with the self-affirmations of things like “A woman who asks for nothing deserves everything.” There is the You-Say-You’re-Tough,-Showing-You’re-Not. “I have already been through hell. So, give it your best shot. Not only will I SURVIVE, I will WIN.” There is the I Don’t Need To Worry About You. “It’s not my job to blow sunshine up your butt.”

It’s in the free calendars people send you. I think it’s supposed to be funny and snarky, but really, who isn’t already having trouble not having a bad attitude at work? It’s on t-shirts, people letting you know far before they open their mouth what their idea of an ideal intelligence level is. Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.

Well, it’s degrading. It’s disrespectful. Not of me–of you, of whoever is propagating it. Occasional light-hearted jabs, okay, I get it. An entire culture? Whoa, wait a minute.

You don’t have to be the victim. You don’t have to pout. You don’t have to have a chip on your shoulder.

There used to be this staunch-upper-lip saying from WWII: Keep Calm, and Carry On. Now, you can’t even say that. It’s been replaced with “Keep Calm, and Get Inked.” “Keep Calm, and Refill Your Coffee Mug.” “Keep Calm, and Punch the Bugger.” So you can’t even encourage people to approach life differently without sounding like you’re part of the snark track.

Well, I could do with a little of the WWII austerity, myself. I could do with a little sitting up straight, instead of slouching over, because what does it matter? I could do with a little of seeing people who didn’t so obviously take the path of least resistance. I could do with a little. . .I don’t known. Rawness. To realize that “hard work” does not mean “went to the gym” and that being able to bear with the weakness of others is a strength. To understate, for a change, instead of to overstate.

I know it is too much to ask for our culture to say “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle,” instead of “Get the h@ll out of my way, or I’m takin’ you down!” (with a smile and a smirk). But I do feel sad, looking back over photography. Watching the body language. Watching it fade from the silent dignity of straight bodies and square shoulders to forms stooped not from labor. And with this change comes also the reflection in faces. . .from composed, to painfully aware. Of the camera, yes. But more than that; of themselves. Of what they think the world owes them.

Yes, owes them. I read a sad post today, an academic discussion of how our current healthcare laws need to be progressed. Because when the law was passed that said hospitals couldn’t dump patients from their emergency rooms because they couldn’t pay, that was worded as a right. But the current legislation that is being passed is speaking of things to much as though they were privileges, rather than rights. Because . . . because, you know. You’re supposed to act tough, and be privileged, not act privileged and be tough.

Mostly, it fills me with a sense of mourning. For me, because there is no way for me to relate to this culture. But also for this culture, which thinks mocking is an admirable trait. What words of comfort can be spoken to it? Any word spoken now will ring as hollowly as the rest of the language. Even “God” is like “Karma” and “Gravity”. . .another platitude, or another joke. And the soft whispers of light are lost, because they’re too busy practicing their sneer.

I would not idolize a “simpler age”. My grandparents were as mortal as any of us were. But it is with a deep aching I see the last of that generation slipping by. There was an echo of grace I see there that I cannot find mirrored in my own generation. May God have mercy on us all.