Duck Tales

Meet Jasper.

Jasper lives at my house with 9 of his friends. However, Jasper has a problem - there are only 6 hens versus 4 drakes. It’s unfortunate, but that ratio doesn’t work. You want a ratio of 3:1 or more to keep everyone happy and healthy. There are several options to deal with this and we choose to list Jasper on craigslist. Now, you can’t list the duck for free. That has a single predictable outcome; he’s dinner. We attach a nominal fee and wait with little expectation of finding a taker.

Over two weeks later, we get our first and still only response:

Hi! I was wondering if I could rent your duck for a day. I am willing to pay the full
price for purchase and return him at the end of the day. We will treat him with the
utmost care and follow any guidelines you provide us. We would like to use him to
surprise our friend. He will be constantly monitored. Please let me know if you would be
willing to rent him.

My initial thoughts are rambling and numerous. Is this for real? Are they going to mistakenly wire me thousands of dollars to rent a duck in a scam? Is this person’s friend going to have a transcendental experience like Kristen Bell? How do you come the conclusion that you might find a duck to rent on craigslist?

There is a bit that stands out the most, He will be constantly monitored. It is a little threatening out of context. A farmer once shared with us that the only way to keep goats inside their fence was razor wire and towers with snipers. I’m now imagining that scene with Jasper. Let’s add an ankle monitor to the razor wire and snipers. Just for added safety, you see.

It’s only later that I realize the potential here. Unfortunately, rentaduck.com is already owned, though seemingly inactive. Perhaps if the initial VC round closes well, we could pry the domain away from its current owner. I don’t want to count anything before the hatch, but perhaps there’s more than just the surprise-a-friend angle here.

To make a long story end, we won’t be renting Jasper. But if anyone needs a Cayuga drake to add to their flock, I might just have one for you.

Maturity and the Message

One evening we arrived home with stars visible in the night sky. Orion was just peeking over the tree line. We’d recently attended an event at Morehead Planetarium where they mentioned this particular constellation, and I took the opportunity to point it out to the family.

The youngest, 2 years old, couldn’t make sense of my description. He believed I’d seen a lion and was understandably scared. The middle child, 4 years old, dutifully fulfilled her role as an older sister and trying to explain it. She kept repeating, “No, it’s not a’rion, it’s a’rion.” Translation: It’s not a lion, it’s Orion. The oldest, 7 years old, understood it all. She understood what I was communicating as well as where her siblings were falling down.

  • How often does the audience lack the maturity to understand our message?
  • How often is the our delivery of the message too immature to understand?

Deer in the Dawn Light

As I left my house this morning, a group of deer appeared in an open area of the yard. As my headlights illuminated the herd, they moved. For a brief instant, I saw them frolicking. Just as quickly, that perception changed. I saw them as they were, panicked, racing around to avoid a car that was no danger to them. Two deer stood at the rear, safely watching the scene.

How often do we appear to do one thing (frolicking), while actually doing something else (panicking), when we really should do a third (standing still)?

How often do we look busy, accomplishing a task, when we’re really racing, trying to make something demonstrable, but we should be quiet, contemplative about what our real objective is?