Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Law or Lie?

Did you know that you must be 18 to buy a duck?

I didn't, either. In fact, I'm not sure that's really true. It falls into the category of "Things I Learned Teaching School." Or an entry in my proposed Encyclopedia of Common Student Knowledge.

The kind soul who brought this matter to my attention loves animals. Every time we see a video or read about any kind of critter, she crows, "It's so CUTE! I want one!" Except for snakes. And, surprisingly, turkeys. Because she's such a lover of animals, I'm going to call her Philanimal. Near the end of class today, she approached my desk.

Philanimal: "Did you know you have to be 18 to buy a duck, Mrs. Thevictorian?"

Val: "I did not."

Philanimal: "I didn't either, until I went to buy one yesterday. They were SO cute. And they were only four dollars. I took one up front and said, 'I want to buy this duck.' And the lady said, 'I can't sell you that duck. You have to be 18.' Can you believe that? I can drive a car. I can see an R-rated movie. I can move out and live on my own. But I can't buy a duck!"

Val: "Where was this?"

Philanimal: "At the pet shop in Backroads. We also saw a little alligator. He was just chillin', looking at me through the cage, and my friend stepped up and said, 'Look at him!' And he SLAMMED against the glass and I screamed and jumped back...and...I peed a little."

Val: "Um. That's just a little too much information. But I'm glad to you tipped me off on the legal age to buy a duck. Too bad somebody called to tell on the auction my husband used to go to on the edge of Backroads. He could buy and sell animals there all day long. He got chickens, and a turkey, and rabbits, and goats. No duck, though. But he knew a regular there who used to buy a duck every couple of weeks. She was Chinese. It was not going home with her to be a pet.

Philanimal: "Ohh...that's sad."

Val: "Well, it's a fact of life. Besides. That lady WAS over 18."

I don't want to put false information into the blogosphere. I wondered if maybe that duck rule only applies to Missouri. We have exotic animal regulations, you know. So I consulted my BFF Google. Surprisingly, I did not find any statutes prohibiting under-eighteeners from buying ducks. I even read about the Missouri Duck and Coot Regulations. But that was certainly not about buying downy pets.

Don't let me dissuade you from running out to pick up some cute Easter fowl. Besides...I'm pretty sure most of you are over 18. And won't even get carded.


  1. I think that age requirement is only in months that have an R.

    And I would have surrendered that wrestling charm to Heather Pintertail in a New York minute.

  2. When I was a kid a local store handed out free ducklings as part of an Easter promotion. Every kid on our block (except me) had one. I'm sorry to say all of those ducklings suffered a tragic fate. Kids can't be expected to be good animal owners. Violence or neglect of animals is a crime yet kids under eighteen aren't considered adults and can't be prosecuted as such. I wholeheartedly endorse the idea of no animals being sold to minors.

  3. Why are ducks so deserving? Can't under-18 people buy dogs at the pet store? Can they buy cats? Why not ducks? What is so special about ducks?

    Yes, we are (probably still) # 1 when it comes to puppy mills. Mennonites with dollar signs instead of pupils can buy a vanful of canines and breed them with unwavering greed. But Missouri protects their ducks, apparently

  4. Chico: That's the Jewish neighborhood?

    Hammer: (pause) Well, we'll Passover that...You're a peach, boy. Now, here is a little peninsula, and, eh, here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.

    Chico: Why a duck?

    Hammer: I'm alright, how are you? I say, here is a little peninsula, and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.

    Chico: Alright, why a duck?

    Buy a duck? Why a duck? Maybe a bunny or a kitty, but why a duck?

  5. joeh,
    That makes as much sense as many of Missouri's statutes.

    It looks like women have always been your Achilles heel. Take Mrs. Cranky out behind the candy store and give HER a kiss. She'll treat your wrestling charm just fine.

    Yet teachers allow them to take home the classroom pet on weekends! There oughta be a law!

    I have not been in enough pet stores to notice if there are signs demanding ID for under-eighteeners. You would think that pet shop rule would apply to all critters, not just ducks.

    WAIT! I thought the Mennonites made furniture! This puppy business is a new one for me. I shall not sell them ad space on the counter of my proposed handbasket factory.

    Who's on first? Who's on the mainland? Who bought a duck? To get to the mainland, RIDE the ducks! They have them in Branson, you know. Ducks you can drive down the road and into the lake.

  6. In middle school my daughter and her classmates watched ducks hatch. They kept the ducklings in the classroom until the end of the school year. The teacher asked for volunteers to take the ducks home. Jill was only 13, but the duck came to live at our house .... in Georgia. His name was Howard and he was mean. He bit everyone except Jill. He chased the meter man down the alley and grabbed the Basset Hound's long ear and drug her around the yard. A mean duck!

  7. Kathy,
    Thank goodness the meter man and the Basset Hound didn't sue for damages, because that insolent duck might have sneered, "Put it on my bill!"