Organized Ducks

There is a lot I do not know about living here, in this human body, on this planet earth.

You would think, after more than half a century, I would have some ducks lined up in a little row, on some of life’s greatest ponderings. But wait. Before we go one sentence further, what about that phrase, “Having your ducks in a row”?

Most of us know it means to have things in order. To have the details all sorted out, and to know enough about them, to put them in an understandable state. Lined up.

But most ducks that I have viewed are not very orderly. At all. In fact, they swim this way. That way. Pitching their heads, randomly, beneath the surface of the water. When they are on land, they practically bump in to one another, as they waddle about. Albeit, little baby ducks will follow their mothers in a pretty decent line. But even that can go astray. I had to know the origin of this phrase. There would be no sleep tonight without it. So I searched. And found.

The most popular theory suggests that “ducks in a row” originated in the world of sports. Specifically, one of my favorite sports, bowling. I don’t bowl much these days. In fact, it has probably been 20 years since I’ve hoisted a ball, and heaved it down a lane. Except for Wii Bowling. Which is fun in its own right. But it isn’t the same a going to the Thunderbowl, and by the end of the night, coming away with the oil stains on your shirt, a cheeseburger or two in your belly, and the searing temptation of walking out of that place with your oh-so-cool bowling shoes.

But where was I? Ducks. Row. The theory.

To continue. It seems that a long time ago, the early bowling pins were often shorter and thicker than modern pins. Squatty. And back then they were nicknamed Ducks. Also in those days, there weren’t any automated pin setters . Someone had to go back there behind the alley, and manually put the “duck” pins back in place.

And so it follows that, having one’s ducks in a row would be a metaphor for that. For having all of the bowling pins organized just right, and all back in their proper spots. Before the next someone sent another ball down the lane.

But where was I before that? Me. Having some sort of ideas lined up about the whole “living life” thing.

It seems I don’t. Not really. Although, certain things, seem very clear. For instance, lining things up. Like, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” This should be tattooed on all humans. Minutes after the umbilical cord is cut. Right on our bellies. Like the stars on the Sneeches. This rule needs to be applied everywhere. From the littlest parts of life, to the big majors.

A simple example. Take twisty-ties. White bread. Let us say someone opens a brand new loaf of that feathery-soft white bread. They pull a slice or two out, and leave that bag open on the counter. The next morning, someone else goes for that same fresh and wholesome goodness, only to find a loaf of sliced bricks. That first person has killed the joy for all others, because he didn’t put things back where they belonged. The twisty-tie on the bag.

That same guy, will grow up. He will be in charge of the chemical emissions on BigPlantPlastics. He will leave the caps off the smoke stacks. And before you know it, our shorelines are receding. Our ice caps are melting. Our planet is choking. It seems simple enough, to me.

But our world isn’t simple. Every day there is a new headline which astounds me. It all seems convoluted and complicated. And yet. The only thing I can come up with is this. We have to do this alone, all-together. Each one of us, on our own measure, has to live mindfully, wholesomely, kindly. And then, we do it all-together. That way, each one of our single actions becomes part of the collective whole. And the more of us who pay heed to the tattoo on our belly, the better chance we have of going in the way of goodness and peace. All of us. Together.


“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt


“Polish the mirror of your heart
until it reflects every person’s light.”
― Kamand Kojouri


“Every good deed is acceptable goodness.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita