Honk­ing isn’t all its quacked up to be

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - STEVE GALEA

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.

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