Honking isn’t all its quacked up to be
ON THE WEEKEND, JENN and I had what I’d like to call a “misunderstanding.” It was nothing serious, of course, but it did reveal a larger societal issue that columnists like me are obliged to shed some light on.
I was doing what any normal person does on a Sunday at 7:25 a.m. – practicing with my new duck call – when Jenn stomped downstairs in her pajamas, rubbed the sleep from her eyes, stood in front of me with arms crossed and said, “Hey! Do you think you might stop all that honking?”
Honestly, I was shocked. I was quacking, not honking.
I know what you are thinking and agree completely – our educational has system failed us. After all, quacking and honking are two very different things.
Back when I was growing up, long before kids were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, we were taught quacking and honking. And, I’m proud to say, those kindergarten lessons are the ones that have stuck with me the most – and not just because I went through them twice.
In fact, I could go on any game show in the world and confidently answer any
question regarding the difference between duck and goose vocalization. This is probably why I am so respected in the community.
Jenn grew up in a different, more “enlightened” educational era, however. As far as I can gather, it was one in which these important lessons were not drilled home with a cute duck dance where you had to wiggle your tail and flap your wings.
As a result, to this day she gets quacking and honking confused.
That’s why, I believe we should forget all this nonsense about our changing our sex education curriculum and, instead, focus our educational efforts on things that will serve a child well later in life – such as knowing the difference between a quack and a honk.
I mean, if a person doesn’t know this, how are they ever going to know which call to pick up when ducks are circling the decoys?
Having said that, I firmly believe we all have our part to play in education. That’s why I went back upstairs with both duck and goose call in hand and tried to demonstrate the difference. Whether that sunk in through the two pillows Jenn held over her ears is anyone’s guess, but my gut feeling is that she wasn’t receptive to the knowledge I was so generously offering.
The good news is, after I finally managed to extract the socks she had stuffed into each of my calls, Jenn displayed genuine curiosity.
“How far away can birds hear those things?” she asked.
I told her I have turned around ducks and geese from several hundred metres in the right conditions. “Really?” she answered. “Yes,” I replied. “That can’t be true,” she said. I crossed my heart. She then asked me to walk down the road to demonstrate. And, since I never pass up on a teachable moment, I stepped outside, began calling, and then texted her to see if she could hear.
At 100 metres, she texted yes. And again at 200.
Remarkably, she could still hear me loud and clear at 400 metres – which was incredible since all our windows and doors were shut and various people were yelling at me.
Having proved my point, I walked home secure in the knowledge that Jenn must have a renewed respect for my old school education. And, at 10:30 a.m., after she woke up and unlocked the doors, she said as much too.