Metaphorically speaking, ducks seem to have been prominent in my conversations of late.
“I think you’d better get your ducks in a row,” I was advised yesterday, as I contemplated a financial transaction of some complexity. I took the advice because otherwise I might have been in danger of becoming a dead duck.
“He’s a funny old duck,” someone else said today of a mutual friend known for his eccentricities.
Then I read in a newspaper that Barack Obama, nearing the end of his second term in office, is a lame-duck president. Some would say he started that way. Still, better a lame duck than a sitting duck.
In my childhood years, my mother, adopting a Cockney turn of phrase, sometimes used to call her friends ‘duck’ or ‘ducks’, or even ‘duckie’. And occasionally, when exasperated, she could be heard to exclaim, “Lor’ luv a duck!” She probably said it when I came home from the barber’s one day with a ‘duck’s arse’ hair style, which involved sweeping the hair back on each side to a kind of point at the back. It was popular in the 1950s, started if memory serves by the film actor Tony Curtis, although I may be mistaken.
I don’t care even if I am wrong. Or to put it another way, that to me would be water off a duck’s back (which, I might add, is quite different from having taken to it like a duck to water). And no, my ‘DA’ didn’t make me feel like an ugly duckling.
I don’t know what ducks ever did to become so popular in the common vernacular. I should do some research; not a difficult task, I imagine. In fact it ought to be duck’s soup.
Perhaps it started with cricket, a game in which a batsman’s failure to score a run is described as a duck. Get out first ball, and it’s called a golden duck. Nobody seems to know why. But then, nobody knows why anything in cricket is called what it is.
As you can tell, I’m at a loose end. It’s a warm, lovely day, the garden and a good book beckon, and honestly I can’t bring myself to pontificate about the interminable problems of the Greek economy or what must be done to resolve Europe’s expanding immigrant crisis.
Maybe I’ll think of something intelligent to write tomorrow. Meanwhile, duckies, I think I’ll pop down to the Dog and Duck for a lunchtime pint.
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