Duck Duck Grey Duck
The United States of America is a country divided. Never has there been so bitter a battle than the war over a simple little children’s game.
The civil war was just a skirmish compared to this fight and we, the proud warriors of Minnesota must stand alone.
It is a simple question that divides us. One even more important to our self-worth than the question of whether or not we are drinking “soda” or “pop” or even “soda pop.”
Is it “Duck Duck Goose” or is it “Duck Duck Grey Duck?”
The rest of the country says Goose. They turn up their noses at Minnesotans who have, apparently, failed to recognize that there is no other way to play this game. Conform, Minnesota! Conform!
Minnesota defiantly responds that no! We will not conform! We haven’t ruined “Duck Duck Goose.” We have fixed it.
“Duck Duck Goose” seems to contain some sort of implication that the child identified as the “goose” is the “ugly duckling” who must be cast out only to discover, when he grows up, that he is a beautiful and graceful…goose?
Hold on! This isn’t the story of the ugly duckling! The ugly duckling was a swan! So the goose is already just a gigantic screw up! The rest of the country is playing a game that screwed up Hans Christian Anderson the same way Disney screwed up Hans Christian Anderson!
In Minnesota, there is no attempt to pretend there is source material for the game. In Minnesota, we recognize that the folklore is not important, it is game theory.
Consider, The Rest of the Country, if you can, two groups of children. One group (group A) is playing “Duck Duck Goose.” The other (group B), “Duck Duck Grey Duck.”
In group A, a child walks around a circle touching their heads and saying “duck, duck, duck in a repetitive fashion. He quickly grows bored and has only one option. “Goose!” he says. He is chased around the circle and is able to sit down before he is tagged.
But what happens the next time he is “it?” Why, the same thing. He quickly grows tired with the monotonous routine. This time, though, he is caught because the other children rapidly learn his “tell” and he is stuck walking around a circle playing Duck Duck Goose until recess is over. What had been a fun idea for a group game soon leads to desperation and despair. He concludes that life, like this idiotic game, has no meaning.
Later, he becomes a petty thief and drug user. Not weed. Bad drugs. Like meth and heroin and heroin laced meth.
In group B, a child walks around the circle saying “duck, duck, duck,” but she does not grow bored. Instead, she taps a child’s head and says “green duck.”
Wait…what just happened?
It wasn’t a grey duck! But it was a color that started with “G!” Now the other children must pay closer attention.
Next she says “Grenadine duck.”
Hang on! That’s isn’t even a color!
And next “Polka dot duck!”
The children are unsure what could come next. ANY ADJECTIVE IS ON THE TABLE!
“Polka Dot Green Duck!”
Oh god! This makes no sense! What is she doing???
Then she says “Grey duck” and runs around the circle before her poor confused classmate can even stand up! She has learned that she can carefully disguise her tells by using a string of bizarrely colored ducks before she reaches grey. They are powerless against her.
Her life has meaning! She controls her own fate!
Later, she becomes the President of the United States.
History tells us no matter what state they came from, every President of the United States except James Buchanan played “Duck Duck Grey Duck.” Yes, even George W Bush.
He just wasn’t very good at it.
My research team has just informed me Teddy Roosevelt actually played Duck Duck Bully and if any kid complained about the rules, he’d beat them with a big stick. Teddy Roosevelt was an asshole.
“Duck Duck Grey Duck” children grow up to be computer programmers, astronauts, scientists, heads of state, and professional tennis players.
“Duck Duck Goose” players grow up to be baristas, public utility workers, umpires, and professional bowlers.
Game theory changes everything. It changes the way you see the universe. Carl Sagan and Neil Degrasse Tyson played “Duck Duck Grey Duck.” So did Issac Newton. And Plato.
So go ahead, The Rest Of The United States, laugh at poor little Minnesota and the way we play your precious, broken game.
We’ll be running the world. Who’s the goose now?