The faster the boat went, the faster the mallard duck flew.
I later learned we’d never have outrun this crazed-winged beast. Not so much because mallard ducks have been clocked at 50-60 mph and there was no way our aged six-horse outboard was going to come anywhere remotely close to that threshold, but because this creature was addicted to Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
We had ‘em. He wanted ‘em.
Cheetos once ran a Halloween contest – I’m not sure why – called “Tiny Twitter Tales of Terror.” We now had a sure-to-win entry.
It was Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” the sequel.
While slowly boating about with the grandkids, our fortunately life-jacketed littlest one – who doesn’t even stand taller than the railings around the boat – tossed one of the little red cheesy treats into the wake spreading behind where three mallards were wake-boarding – two male, one female, evidently these days just before Valentine’s conducting their own version of most-eligible-bachelor.
Together with Lay’s, the snack food giant offering a number of chip varieties including Cheetos and originator of its best known slogan “betcha can’t eat just one,” our granddaughter had just created a whole new group – a flock in fact – of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos addicts.
At least one mallard couldn’t eat just one, and his amorous intentions had, of a sudden, a whole new object of his affections for which this feathered-fiend – aka fighter pilot – flapped furiously becoming airborne, several times making up the distance – in the merest fractions-of-seconds – from where it had been ferociously occupied chasing off his rival suitor, to dive-bombing the poor little thing holding the bag.
At first it was funny, then, somewhat terrified, she realized the duck had become dead- serious desperate:
‘Fling me more of them Flamin’ Hots,’ the duck quite clearing was quacking, ‘and you – yes you, the one in the yellow-ducky life jacket with the flap on the back and your friends – don’t get hurt.’
Fortunately, between the addicts on board and those behind, above, and about the boat, the bag was eventually emptied and all, finally, thankfully, came to that inevitable conclusion.
The fear of course is that a certain deranged duck has identified a certain terrorized tyke and the two may one day meet again. Best have more of those Cheetos snacks with the finger-licking good signature “cheetle” on her fingertips.
“We’re a nation of addicts,” writes Dennis Byrne in the Chicago Tribune this Feb.3rd.
“So many addictions it’s hard to list them all. Alcohol. Tobacco, nicotine and vaping on electronic cigarettes. Sugar, fat, junk food. Sex and pornography, the addictions of the mind, body and soul.
“Gambling, the Internet, video games. Prescription drugs, including sedatives, hypnotics, sleeping pills and tranquilizers. Street drugs, cocaine, cannabis, meth, PCP. Compulsive aggression, kleptomania and pyromania.”
All flamin’ hot.
Illicit drug use: “$181 billion annually in health care, productivity loss, crime, incarceration and drug enforcement.”
So the government legalizes it.
Alcohol and tobacco: “$554 billion a year.”
So? The government profits from it. Benefits education and all that.
“Overdose deaths are increasing.”
With the new bill in Canada authorizing euthanasia, the government says ‘we can help.’
The government in Lakewood receives federal grant money to treat gambling addicts.
But uses 25-percent of it to buy a Sea Doo.
Then there’s the Indian tribe in Wisconsin which offered Gov. Scott Walker $220 million to cover the state’s share of a new Milwaukee Bucks arena if the Gov. relents on his opposition to the tribe’s casino plans.
Then there’s the “EPA official caught with thousands of downloaded pornographic files on his government computer and had watched up to six hours of porn a day while on the job,” so the government introduces legislation – ‘the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act’ – to help these recipients of taxpayer money and purveyors of porn to understand that’s wrong.
But the government doesn’t fire him.
Then there’s the not so secret Secret Service which has demonstrated – what Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) described as “a comprehensive, cascading failure” – any number of improprieties, including “the investigator who led the Homeland Security Department’s internal review of a prostitution scandal involving Secret Service agents on assignment in Colombia in 2012” most recently himself allegedly involved with a prostitute in Florida.
But what is needed, says the government, is more money to study the problem.
“Every time some federal agency messes up, the first thing they say — they say they’re underfunded, and the second thing they say is their technology is out of date,” Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) complained.
Then there’s the increased scrutiny of sports stars which has drawn the attention of Washington State government with House Bill 1877 “Requiring fines and assessments against professional athletes be donated to charity” – one “of their own choosing” – as opposed to being spent for “various internal purposes” within the athlete’s sport.
Like more weight lifting equipment perhaps.
It’s all in sport.
Football agent Eugene Parker said: “It used to be people would look at the athlete as the hero. Now they look at the athlete as an opportunity for them to hit the lottery” – charities included, should HB 1877 pass.
Heck, our jails are overcrowded. Why not release ‘em and let ‘em play football? It wouldn’t be long before the passing of the football and the passing of HB 1877 would mean those failed drug test fines would be a financial boon to saving the spotted owl or whatever.
After all, the prevailing government ‘wisdom’ in all this seems to be, as long as there’s addicts – god bless ‘em – there’s money to be made.
As to that not-so-tell-tale stain on our hands that we’ve got cheaters, er Cheetos, on board?
Just (incoming) duck. It’s simply the price of going about our addictive business.