The Puffy Duck

Turn to your co-workers, kids, Facebook friends, family — anyone who’s accessible — and ask them to suggest an article, an adjective, and a noun. There’s your post title! Now write.

After they got over the amusement of being able to suggest things in very poor taste causing me to declare a right to veto, I got “The Puffy Duck”. There was some discussion about whether “the” or “a” would make an already difficult task that little bit harder. The specificity of that certain puffy duck was deemed as being worse for me.

I should explain, to pad this out with my own writing, why “duck” is used. When I worked in Holland, my Dutch teacher / colleague used to ask me what I’d done at the weekend (amongst other things) to give me some practice. My usual answers began to get a bit tedious seeing as I’d worked with her for nearly a year by this point. I’d covered most interesting things.

So one Monday I told Marleen I’d been arrested. I stole a duck. It is a good duck. The duck is dead. It was hit by a car. It didn’t feel a thing. It’s in a better place now.  I usually try to keep my sentences short when I’m not speaking in my own language so as not to overly complicate them.  I could have tried “the duck was hit by a car and died” but that required more thinking about.

For what it’s worth (and I’ve had to consult my spreadsheet to remember it) the Dutch is: “Ik heb een eend gestolen. Het is een geode eend. De eend is dood. Het werd geraakt een auto. Het voelde geen ding. Het is nu in een betere plaats.” It was quite a good group of phrases because it taught be some new vocabulary as well as tenses.

I’d told the story to a few people since then and “duck” is usually our random noun. The random adjective was “crusty”, but that was when the noun was an awful lot more “biologically specific” than an animal, if you get my meaning. “Crusty” did turn into “crispy” but that was deemed far too straight forward, because crispy duck is awesome.

So, dear reader, I’m now going to (hopefully) teach you something else besides some nearly useless Dutch.

What appears to be a plume of puffy feathers on the head of the Crested Duck is seen by some people as positively adorable. However, all is not as it seems because the same genetic defect that causes all that fatty tissue to cover a hole in the bird’s skull can also lead to seizures and neurological problems. It can also cause a problem during breeding if the female is crested and the male gets a bit too aggressive.

Incidentally, I know why it’s called a genetic “defect”, but the X-Men fan in me doesn’t really sit comfortably with the term. I’m not normally too politically correct (I don’t think “brainstorm” should be seen as offensive, for example), but is there a different turn of phrase that doesn’t seem so negative?

Anyway, there it is. The Puffy Duck, Ladies and Gentlemen.

So farewell to the King, farewell to the throne
These are the strangest times I’ve ever known
He claims his resignation as power of choice
I can hear the death in his voice

So down the rabbit hole we sink into this dream
Is there nothing in this world that is as it seems?
With a looking glass that only can reflect the past
This image of freedom will never last

Come all you mad men
Join in the sound till they put us on the ground
Buried deep, buried deep where the dead men sleep
With bellows and screams, we’ll all sing
So loud we drown them out

Left in the hands of the cruelty of fate
On a chess board that’s never known checkmate
Annihilation’s knocking at my front door
The scales had to make sure to even the score

Come all you mad men
Join in the sound till they put us on the ground
Buried deep, buried deep where the dead men sleep
With bellows and screams, we’ll all sing
So loud we drown them out

A detailed dissertation of what kills and destroys
How much of what we say just turns to white noise
Regardless I’ll declare all remarks and jeers
If only to fall on deaf ears

Come all you mad men
Join in the sound till they put us on the ground
Buried deep, buried deep where the dead men sleep
With bellows and screams, we’ll all sing

Come all you mad men
Join in the sound till they put us on the ground
Buried deep, buried deep where the dead men sleep
With bellows and screams, we’ll all sing
So loud we drown them out
So loud we drown them out

Come All you Madmen by The Briggs

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