Ducking Disasters: on the demerits of an unprepared mind

Gentlepersons, today we discuss the dangers of herd mentalities and their impact on our environment.

In my continuing endeavour to turn the mundane blob of 24-hour cycles that is my life into an entertaining feast of literary prose for the enquiring minds that found their way here, I have decided to relay a personal experience and use said experience to explain a thing.

Rhetorically speaking, have you ever had a social circumstance sweep you on a wave of obligation whilst in some dark, neglected corner of your mind next to the Solve World Hunger Lever under the Table of Logic and Reason, there is a tiny voice screaming at you to do just the opposite?

As my mind and body have shaken off the sighing and oh-my-gawding cells of my teenage years and begun scraping the grime of my nutritionally dubious university years, I feel this voice getting louder.

An overwhelming sense of Obligation and Responsibility have begun to rise out of my neglected brainspace and begun warming their toes in the more catered-to recesses of my mind.

This is both a joyous augmentation of my individual being and an unwelcome bane on my mental health.

The world is big; its complexities greater; its inhabitants varied.


Despite this we live in the aptly named Age of Information. Whilst any reasoning person knows that this is quite useless without being coupled with a suitable Age of Critical Thinking or an equally useful Age of Responsible Resources, often things happen with no precise understanding of what position in the queue is best.

As a result of this the aforementioned bane on my mental health exists, for you see, information is not all it’s cracked up to be. Not if your mind isn’t cracked up to be what that information needs to bloom into both wisdom and knowledge.

Information is vast.

It comes from many sources.

This shit takes time.

This is why we have degrees.

I possess a Media degree.

You see a media degree is excellent for building on that critical thinking that is so paramount in sifting through the clumps of information my eyes and ears (and occasionally nose) are fed in the day to day. But critical thinking without information runs into a host of problems we shall hold for another day.

The point of this word salad is to highlight that pivotal moment when critical thinking and information harmonise beautifully in your mind to create a golden nugget of knowledge that will later help you apply and share wisdom.

Then you remember the bit about people and how they vary.

We are individuals. This is known. But we are also very, very alike. For all the motivational speakers that issue a decree for self-love based on the uniqueness of our fingerprints you will find an equally passionate person with long hair cross-legged on a soft cushion saying we are part of the cosmic greatness of cosmicness.

I like both these people.

But what is crucial is that what they say doesn’t matter; speaking on the grand scale of the universe only works if you are among a group of people who wish to leave their lives for a minute. On the smaller scale of things, life is much more complex. And it’s on this battlefield that we must fight and forge ourselves. We must do it to save the ducks.

As I slithered from beneath the womb-like warmth of my duvet nakedly howling at another brisk morning, I discovered I was to engage in a family outing to the canals. We were to take my grandfather for a ride in a canal boat. Dressed as well as I could manage in my ever present dazed state of mind – I grabbed coat and keys dimly registering my family as they prepared for the day. Bother had his phone out, Father was already in the car, Mother grabbed some bread for the duckies and Grandfather combed his magnificent beard.

This is when the golden nugget met with the social circumstances. Their eyes locked and the air grew tense with bare hostility mixed in with a little sexual curiosity.

Don’t feed bread to the ducks.

Furthering the universe’s penchant to being the ever growing wet blanket of our cosmos* we now learn that feeding bread to ducks is an environmental No-No.

Let me rip off that band-aid. Feeding ducks bread is bad for them. Bread does not have a lot of nutrition for a duck and essentially can be classed as a junk food. High sugar levels in bread coupled with this lack of nutrition lead to a sugar-crazed addicted avian, presumably with birdy halitosis.

But you ensure to feed them only organic seeded wholegrain bread? That… that doesn’t help. They’re ducks. Conversely you folk that feed them bread that’s about to go off, bear in mind that excess bread floating around in a river is not only yuck to look at but forms into a mini-island of gross-out that can cause various avian illnesses. Don’t feed them bread.

The tension in my mind became more inimical as I stood on the bouncing canal boat and looked into the distance.

The ducks were coming. My Mother, being the supplier of food in our home handed her inharmonious supplies to my Brother who dealt the deathly comestibles to our monomaniacal feathered friends.

As the young family who had joined us looked keenly at the bread bag – my Brother shared his wares. And the violation of nature began.


Gentlepersons I did partake in this. I reasoned that I have not have seen an epidemic of death caused by bread consumption in my local rivers and ponds. Perhaps my research was flawed or I was misremembering. My nugget weakened and turned brass.

Later I overcame the “I should research this hump” and dove into a wealth of knowledge. The nugget returned and after a healthy conversation with Mother, we decided to be more conscious.

Whether this happens is up to us. For you see, it’s easy to throw our gone-off bread at the ducks and think it’s a win-win. But information is growing and can grow us in turn if we let it.

Gentlepersons, I beseech you to “Be That Guy”. Be the asshole that tells people what they should feed the ducks. Break the hearts of little children by telling them they’re making ducky sick. Cause anguish, dismay and confusion. Help us break the mouldy thought process that mouldy bread has brought us to.

Save the ducks and in so doing – save yourselves.

*I have no idea if the cosmos is our universe or is in the universe. Quite frankly Google has upset me enough for a day and I’m taking a break from knowing things.

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