Poignancy of a Rubber Duck

You’ll start meeting people the moment you set foot on a college campus. You won’t necessarily talk to them, but you’ll probably at least start to recognize that guy who doesn’t wear shoes or that girl with the buffalo hat.

You may even attain names of these novel characters and start waving or saying ‘hello’ in passing, or you may realize that the guy seated in the back corner of your Math class, is the same guy that never shuts up in your English class. It’s a small world, and sooner or later these strangers become part and parcel of your college experience, and you start to think that a place is more often defined by the people that inhabit it, than the place itself.Image

This is true of more than just college. In fact, you’ve undoubtedly met people before coming to college. Maybe you met them during high school because you sat next to each other classes, or endured P.E. together, or even that brief stint in Singapore.  Those things don’t really matter, the point is that you’re bound to have encountered other human beings and by interacting with those others you’ve learned about yourself, your own interests and tastes, and your own nature.

Or maybe you haven’t. Because learning about oneself can be a  daunting task, and so many of us live little rubber ducks sitting infront of mirrors. These sad creatures, common playthings for children, drift about bubble baths and never dive for their own enjoyment. They can only be guided by another’s, often reckless, hand. Though some speed along the free-flowing streams, even those racing ducks are driven by the currents, and freed by the wills of those whose well earned fortunes are being lain on Duck #2.

Can a rubber duck escape its fate, created as it is to float? Many of the rubber ducks will say they cannot, and are content to be rubber ducks, and they explain that they cannot help but be current-driven toys, and they prefer not to think about their fate but are happy to live as they are made to be.

But some of them find themselves gazing long on their reflections, willing themselves to grow feathers or feet or wings, then, with horror perhaps or resignation, they realize that it cannot change. They realize that they are condemned by the factory mold and by the rubber from which they are made to be a current-driven mockery of a living, breathing mallard.

We are not rubber ducks, however, and we are free to find our molds, and learn what factory we came from, and the kind of rubber we are made from. And we can learn to alter ourselves and develop and grow into more sophisticated beings with our own feet and feathers and bills. But it is a long process of refinement, full of trial and error and risk of failure. So take a moment to gaze deep into yourself, decode who you are and whether you’re up to the task. But while you learn to challenge your fate, please say a short prayer for that poor, fated creature: the rubber duck.


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