I found myself talking to one of the ducks today. Let me hasten to say this is not unusual. We have ducks in the neighborhood—Muscovies, which are not the prettiest duck as ducks go. They have all this gooky red stuff dribbled all over their heads and down over their beaks. It looks as if someone poured thick, bubbly tomato sauce on them. But I digress.
I often sit out on the back patio and once they spot me, the ducks come a’running thinking I’ve got food for them, which sometimes I do. Tonight there was only one duck who waddled up onto the patio and stood around tweaking his head this way and that as he looked me over, hoping for something to nibble on. Instead, all he got was human conversation. Not quite what he had in mind.
I like talking to a duck better than to a therapist. The duck doesn’t ask me, “…So Marc, how does that make you feel?” In fact, the duck doesn’t ask anything. Can’t. Doesn’t understand the language let alone how to converse in it. No, he just stays attentive, mainly for the prospect of food. He has no intention of serving as a wing for me to lean on.
Now, I’m no different from most family guys. I have a long list of frets and concerns. There is always something going on with some family member that warrants my reaction that ranges from oh-my-gosh to holy sh*t another crisis. As I said, no different from any other family. But I have the duck. Not everyone has the duck.
So I tell the duck about all my woes and he stares back intently. I figure he has a brain about the size of a marble. His functions are probably limited to just a few areas of concern: where is food; run/fly from anything threatening; where is mating duck? I don’t think the duck thinks about anything beyond these three items. Perhaps that is why I find the duck so easy to talk to. He handles problems on a very primitive level. He doesn’t get bogged down in details. He just reacts instinctively.
This led me to the observation that humans are an incredible species, but sometimes we are in a state of information overload and, as a result, we over-think lots of things. We should have a tuning knob on the side of our head with three settings on it. That way, we could adjust the level at which we wish to handle a problem. Top level would be full throttle, leave no thought or alternative resolution behind; mid-level would be pretty much just the facts—he said/she said kind of stuff. And the bottom level? Well, I’d label that one simply…“Duck.”
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