Rants & Essays
What People Don't See
For no particular reason, I feel it necessary to tell
a little story.
I was more or less homeless, couldn't find work at the
day-labor corner, and had nothing better to do than to cross the bridge over
the Texas Colorado River and hang out in the park.
There were quite a lot of ducks around, most of which were
generally disregarded as "trash ducks" for their main source of food. Even the
homeless weren't desperate enough to eat them.
One of the ducks seemed to be a bit misplaced. It took to
following me around. Having decided that worse things could happen than to be
adopted by a duck, I didn't chase it off. It followed me around, quacking.
Eventually, it decided it liked me enough to let me pick it
Purely on a whim, I waited until it had just taken a dump
and shaken itself clean, and then I put it on top of my head.
At that moment, a woman and her child ambled by on the
jogging trail. The little boy said "Mommy mommy mommy! That man has a duck on
The woman didn't even bother to look. "Junior, stop making
stuff up. Nobody's got a duck on their head!" And she gave him a swat and
speeded up going down the trail, dragging Junior along after.
This worries me to this day. After all, I did have a
duck on my head. Who knows what sort of psychological damage might have been
inflicted by this poor tyke noticing something unusual and promptly remarking
on it, only to be told that he doesn't see what he actually sees?
A man with a duck on his head is, after all, plausibly
Shortly thereafter the duck flew off of my head, circled the
park a few times quacking madly all the while, and then eventually flew off in
the general direction of Louisiana, presumably never to be seen again.
For what its worth, some of the other homeless folks
saw all of this, and took to calling me Duck Man.