Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Crippled Ducks

Yesterday as I was taking the girls to school, the truck in front of me hit a duck. He was waddling happily along with his feathery white friends one minute, crossing the road from a morning dabble in a ditch puddle, and the next was flat on his back, small webbed feet paddling the air, his wings flapping weakly, widespread at his sides.

I managed to straddle him with my car, but felt bad, nonetheless. Ducks are pretty, after all, if not so bright. On the way home, I fully expected to see him still in the other lane, if perhaps a bit flatter courtesy of other drivers. Instead, as I turned the curve, there he was, sitting upright in my lane, painstakingly dragging the small feathered boat of his body toward the grass at the side of the road. He listed a bit to starboard.

I was tempted to finish him off, I’ll admit. Even if he didn’t have any internal injuries (which was unlikely), what kind of a life would he have now, with at least one leg broken? Toppling over when he stands up? Swimming in circles? Turning somersaults in the water when he tries to dive? I couldn’t bring myself to do it, even though I knew he’d likely die in the rain and cold before the day was over. Then, of course, I felt guilty the rest of the day for leaving him to suffer.

Truth is, though, somedays we're all ducks.


Anonymous said...

Musing . . . I've just discovered two more plagiarism cases, students who claimed at the beginning of the term to have language difficulties but whose writing seemed to be fine. Now I now why.

The duck story brings this to mind because I find that I am always tempted to leave such students to suffer . . . I've got plenty to do with my life besides hunt down websites and hold conferences and battle with coaches who want me to hold their hands and forgive everything in the name of a few more soccer goals on the way to a conference championship. But if I let them go, dragging themselves along with broken wings, somebody will finish them off some day, with far worse consequences than an F in a college course.

One would, of course, hope to heal the broken wings. But sometimes it's the pain that wakes us up -- run them over now, figuratively speaking, and maybe there will be a chance to start a whole-scale healing process, a resurrection of sorts. One hopes.

And, yes, some days we're all ducks. Pretty, but not very bright, and putting ourselves in places to get our wings shredded. Good thing to remember as I pursue the necessary justice. What's that verse about looking to yourself when you rebuke someone else, lest you become guilty of the same thing? Something like that (no Bible handy just now).

(the supreme irony -- one of the papers is about the need for college students to be honest in all they do . . .)


Joyella said...

I had a friend who tried to rescue a tortoise that had been hit by a car alongside the road. She took off work to take the creature to the vet, but it died on the way. She then, placed it in her freezer until she had the time to perform a proper burial and rite for the tortoise. Amazing. She is part of a Native American religion, a convert, who value the lives of all beings. I probably couldn't have finished off the duck either. I cringe when I drive over roadkill that has long been dead. Creatures without life make me shudder. It is wrong, not how God intended them to be, and yet it is what inevitably happens because of the fall. Fortunately, dumb ducks that we are, we can have greater hope for greater life even after our bodies fail us.

Cindy said...

You're not running them over. If I'd've tried to pick that silly duck up to move it up to its yard, it would have squawked and tried to beat me off with its wings in its discomfort (pain). That's what you're doing: lugging them across the road before the semi of reality comes barrelling along.

Even if you do want to knock them senseless sometimes to make your job easier. ;)

Scott will appreciate the irony of the paper subject. Some assignments, when the papers come in, I've seen him spend almost as much time online looking up proof of plagarization as he gets in grading and commenting time. :p

Anonymous said...

Joyella--Sorry. I posted that last comment to alaiyo before I saw yours. :o (Ah, Blogger! ;) ) I love turtle mating season b/c it's neat seeing so many of them, but I HATE seeing so many of them on the road. Hadn't thought of the resurrection connection for all us "dead ducks". :) I'm glad God loves us.

Even if we ARE a little quackers. :D

Anonymous said...

Great Scott! said:

Here's a handy site I stumbled on for finding plagiarists' sources.
I probably should repent of my chuckling with malicious glee.

Poor little duckses.

Joyella said...

Thinking of you today as I butcher four Peking ducks for a dinner party I'm having tomorrow night. I guess it may seem hypocritical... to not be able to kill something, and then cut it up, cook it, and eat it with friends. Oh, well. Dumb ducks never knew what hit 'em.

Randy said...

I am so sad. Poor duck. ::: sniffle :::