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Every Muffin Deserves a Flipper Print

Ducks and Chucks,

Being a pond manager is a big part of my life, but I also have another life. I'm a plush duck, you see. When I'm not at the pond, or cooking vegan snail stir fries with Riley, I'm chilling out with my humans Star and Other Duck. For instance, we have breakfast together.

So, this morning, Star and Other Duck were talking about judgments and how super-ducking damaging they can be, and Star gave an example, holding up their breakfast muffin. "If there was a flipper print on the top of my muffin," they said, "I'd probably say, 'Yuck.' But maybe in some societies, a flipper print in your muffin is very good thing."

"Actually," I chipped in, "when it comes to waterfowl, a flipper in your muffin is essential." I demonstrated by taking a muffin off of Star's plate and pressing my flipper into it. Yes, I had already been outside this morning because I like to feel the rain on my plush feathers, but having mucky flippers is natural for me. For Star, however, mucky prints in their muffin are the opposite of natural.

So, Star did some grumbling, and I went to the kitchen to get them another muffin.

When I returned, I told Star and Other Duck about the origin of flipper prints in muffins. It's a way of honoring your guest with a personal part of yourselves. It's like when the Queen (*quacker-sniff*) would stamp a letter with the royal coat of arms—or had someone else do it because I'm sure she had ducks for that sort of thing—in order to make the letter more special. Well, for ducks like me, it's the same with a flipper print.

Star listened carefully, then gave a nod. "Being a Brit," they said, "and also a U.S. citizen, there were all sorts of customs that U.S. folks didn't get when I first moved here." They explained how, when it rained, their umbrella was one of the only ones in sight, while in the U.K. umbrellas were as natural as breathing. Black tea is served very weak in Massachusetts, explained Star, compared to how it's served in the U.K. and the teabags are weak too. Then there was the fact that every third thing they said was a puzzle for others.

"I once had three staff completely confused in Macy's when I was searching for a pair of sheer tights," Star said. "I guessed the U.S. wouldn't call tights 'tights,' because all my words seemed to be confusing to people back then, but when the staff asked if what I actually wanted were 'pantyhose,' I couldn't imagine that was the right word! Surely that was to do with underwear, not tights!"

The result? A twenty-minute conversation that just went round and round and round!

"Language and customs can be confusing sometimes," said Star, "if they're not yours. But what I learned was that being invited into others' customs and communications is actually a real honor, especially when there's good energy around you." They patted my hat-head. "That's why, Duck, on reflection, I'm grateful for your flipper print," they said.

This made me happy. And I'd also managed to land a free flipper-printed muffin! All in all, I'd call that a good breakfast. In fact, the muffin was so human-sized that when I got to my day job at the pond, everybody else got some muffin too. The fact that it was flipper-blessed was considered a bonus.

Take care out there, ducks and chucks, and never forget you're super-ducking awesome!

Loves ya,

Duck T.


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