Ducks redux

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 8:30am

Over the past few years, the phrase “dust ducky,” comes flying out of my mouth when asked how I’m doing.

It’s a corny way of saying that things are just fine. In the realm of the geezer, the idea of saying corny stuff is okay — it’s okey-doke — and the reason it’s okay to say a corny phrase when we’re geezers is because the cool ship has sailed. It has left the dock. Subsequently, all controls are now off, and geezers can say whatever they want. In addition to saying “just ducky,” when asked how I’m doing, I may add a quantifier. “Double ducks” means I’m having a really great day. Or, I may say “ducks redux” if I’m having two splendid days in a row. “Just ducky,” is also flexible enough be used with a snarky tone and sub-text.

Sometimes while sailing my boat, I get to thinking about the complexity of the human condition. For example, the idea of the selfie recently got my wheels turning as I sailed Reverie aimlessly in Narragansett Bay. We currently have gadgets that allow us to take a picture of ourselves —doing whatever we happen to be doing — and then share the picture with whomever we want. It’s something we can do which demonstrates that we are having perhaps, a ducky time. They even invented a selfie stick, which allows a compelling point of view for your selfie needs and pictures — of yourself. Amazing stuff! As a result of my musing about selfies, I started wondering why people purse their lips in what I call the duck bill pose while taking a selfie. Until recently, I was baffled by this selfie phenomenon — not anymore.

A few weeks ago, I noticed Reverie had some chafe at the tack of her jib.  I was sailing in about 15 knots of southwest wind and was on a starboard tack heading toward the Mount Hope Bridge. The chafe had been bothering me for a week or so, and I decided this was a good time to go forward and do a quick fix. I went down below into my cabin and grabbed some white duct tape. Then, I steadied my boat — into a nice slot of water and wind — and grabbed my iPhone, buck knife, and tape. I carefully scrambled to the bow of my boat and sat down to do put a band-aid on the jib. It was an easy fix. Although I like to take pictures from the bow of my boat while sailing, this time after I took a snap of Reverie, I actually took a selfie — complete with the duck bill pursing of the lips—and scrambled back to the cockpit. After viewing the fatuous selfie, I proceeded to post the picture on Facebook. As stated earlier, geezers do whatever they want.

Facebook has become a living scrapbook with a built-in timeline — fun stuff. I like to document pictures of my wife, grandkid, dogs, and sailboat. This is a cheap form of entertainment for this easily amused geezer. Moreover, looking at sailboat pictures and videos in February can bring some light to that dark month, when things may not be, ahem, just ducky. Furthermore, there aren’t many double duck days in February at the ferry dock. Just sayin’.

I called my daughter in San Francisco the day of the sailing selfie. “Hey Emily, did you see my duck bill sailing selfie on Facebook?” I said with geezer-like enthusiasm. Emily said while laughing, “Um, yeah dad, but um, kind of weird, don’t you think?” I went on to explain that it wasn’t weird at all, and that geezers can do these things because they are impervious to insult. And, that in the grand scheme of things, no one cares! I then gave her a mini lecture on how it’s ok for a geezer to do a duck bill selfie, but not for mothers — because it is not, cool. My daughter assured me that there would be no such selfies of that nature with my grandkid; however, she did mention a duck bill selfie she once took. I told her to send it, and she did with the condition that it would be between us. Later that day, Emily sent me the selfie. She looked silly, and not mother-like. She put a note at the bottom of the picture that said, “Zoolandering.” Then came the Aha moment! I finally got it! “Zoolander” is a satirical look on the fashion industry with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Farrell. Stiller plays a model who has a signature move when he’s posing for the camera. The name of the move is called “Blue Steel,” which is composed of some strutting body swagger, and you guessed it, the duck bill or pursed lips. Bingo! My daughter unlocked the mystery of the duck bill for her father who had pondered this ubiquitous cultural quirk — for years. But wait, there’s more!

In the 1930s there was a cartoon character named Betty Boop — she was a character inspired by the flappers of the Roaring Twenties. I think she was the genesis of the duck bill. (Google Betty Boop) Marilyn Monroe also ran with this fun look. Then, Kim Kardashian picked up the baton; the rest is selfie history. Finally, after this provocative and compelling analysis, perhaps we should all just be like a duck; not take ourselves too seriously — and let all things just roll off our back.

Quack on!