The old duck from the duck pond gave me another stern talking to the other day. I try to avoid him if I can but he corners me from time to time and lets me have it. On these occasions he generally gives me an earful. This was one of the sternest admonishments. It was actually more of a warning.


“Nick,” he said to me, “have you ever thought that you just might be running out of chances? Did you ever occur to you that the universe might just get fed up of giving you chance after chance and then watching you fuck them all up, as you inevitably do? Do you really think that kind of bullshit can go on forever?”


I didn’t really know what to say to this but the old duck evidently wasn’t waiting for me to reply because he carried right on with what he was saying. “Let me put it another way, Nick. Have you ever stopped to consider just how appallingly ignominious it is to spend your entire life running around like a complete jackass, talking complete bollocks the whole time? To be forever coming out with utter nonsense every time you open your mouth, nonsense that you will unfailingly contradict a little while later, without ever acknowledging that you have done so? Things you keep on saying you will do but never actually do? Has it ever occurred to you how dismally and ridiculously foolish it is for you to be constantly swallowing your own self-serving bullshit with the same absolute unwavering lack of critical awareness, never ever questioning anything you come out with, when all you ever do is lie to yourself in new and ever more pathetic ways? You never own up to anything. You have made avoidance and insincerity into an art form. Have you ever wondered just what the fuck you’re doing with your life?”


This seemed very unfair to me but I said nothing because I knew from experience that if I protested I would only come out of it looking even more of an idiot. So I held my tongue and waited to see what his point was. The old duck looked at me, his expression unreadable. The expression of most ducks is unreadable, come to think of it. “My point is this,” he said carefully, apparently reading my mind, “you think you can continue with this travesty you call your life indefinitely, that it is all consequence-free and that you don’t have to take responsibility for any of your own crap. But what’s really happening is that you are only setting yourself up for a fall. Do you get me? In your case, a very big fall. You think – on some level – that you’re getting away with something and that is why you are always acting so cocky. But in reality you are a colossal knob-head and it’s only yourself that is going to suffer from it. You’re crapping in your own bed here, no one else’s, and that’s all I have to say.”


With that the old duck, with much laboured flapping of wings, flew off, leaving a few little grey downy feathers twirling around behind him in his wake. And leaving me – as you might imagine – feeling more than just a little bit put out. Talk about ominous warnings! My unease gradually turned into anger as the day wore on, until I was practically beside myself with rage. “The old bastard,” I fumed to myself, “I hope he flies into a wall. I hope a fox gets him. He has no right to say that to me. None of that shit is true. That’s only a  load of old bollocks. All that old fucker ever does is to keep on trying to come up with new ways to wreck my head…”





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