This I Believe

Dr. Bindoo - Piedmont, California
Entered on October 15, 2006

Life and The Art of Ducking

Since the day of the caveman, I am sure, kids have been asked what they would like to be when they grow up. Like any little child, I was too. I probably gave the usual unattainable and glorified goals such as princess , actress, astronaut etc as most children do . And grew up to be anything but, again as most children do, somehow equating a level of satisfaction with living on par with the level of professional expertise acquired .

By the time one gets settled into a career, no one asks that question any more; except of oneself, maybe, in moments of idle retrospection.

It wasn’t until very recently that I realized what I should have and what I still aim to be. I want to be a duck.

I aim for that sunshiny yellow and white exterior that looks so bright and hopeful. For that inbuilt vacuous and non-threatening smile. For the effortless sailing through life without rippling the water too much. But most of all, I aspire to achieve the clear coat of teflon that makes water roll off of a duck’s back.

For those countless and many forgotten moments in my life when I felt hurt. When someone’s words, actions or implications – real or perceived – made me react, I wish I had spent more time working on being a duck. The hot tears, the turning away in defeat or despair or worse still, lashing back would not have come about if I had perfected the art of ducking at an early age.

And an art it is; an art that can be perfected with practice . Putting on that smile and shrugging things off gets easier with every application. Till there comes a time when the make up and the actor are really one. And this I believe to be an essential life skill.

Now I hear my child wanting to be a soldier or a bald eagle trainer . Whatever skills he may or may not acquire, I will try and teach him the skill of walking away from emotional pain. For dealing with his little fights at school as well as with life’s big blows awaiting. I cannot make life gentle on him but I can change his reaction to it when it is not so gentle.

Having achieved a reasonable measure of satisfaction and success in most aspects of my life, I now turn to achieving my nirvana – being a duck.