I was recently invited by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families to participate in a press event being hosted by the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDAA) to give a brief overview of our position on TSCA Reform.
It’s almost summer and the centerpiece of the event was a 25 ft. tall inflatable yellow duck. Who could resist?
Although the day’s event didn’t unfold in the exact order originally anticipated, the press and Representative Murphy’s Field Director, Nate Nevala, were there to hear about our purpose, challenges and hoped-for reform.
And, if the day’s work had ended there and then it would have been a good day.
But, it didn’t end at that point; there was the matter of the 25 ft. tall yellow duck - it was time to put him back in the box. Here’s a recap …
It was a hot, sunny day with a prevailing wind, not “breeze” - wind - giving ducky a ride while testing its tethers.
Deflation requires finding and opening the rear inflation portal, reversing the fan and drawing the air out said portal. So, I placed the fan inside ducky and ducky, beginning to deflate, lulls you into thinking it’s going willingly. Until the fan sucks the duck against its intake grill and the process comes to a halt. Removing duck from intake grill requires that I enter the duck through the rear portal (not something on my Bucket List). At this point, I’m very happy the news crews are gone.
The rear portal isn’t big enough so only 2/3 of me (folded at the waist) can fit in. I then stand inside ducky, astride the fan and each foot holds ducky from getting sucked into the intake. Again, hot … sunny … prevailing wind. I’m in suit pants and long-sleeve white shirt.
Soon, suit pants are inextricably sucked against the intakes.
Leaving my “hold the duck up so it doesn’t smother me” position, I reach for the cuff of my pants. The wind blows ducky over me so now I’m IN and were it not for the tethers, I’d still be wandering around the streets of Hoboken. (This event took place in Pittsburgh, by the way.)
Finally, Christine (a co-worker) and Maureen (with LDAA) wrestle the yellow beast to the ground and free me from my predicament. But before they finish, they pause because Maureen, on knees in wet gress struggling with ducky, notices Christine’s shoes and gives an admiring comment, to which Christine dutifully joins the discussion about how much each likes shoes.
I was pleased to hear an admiring comment about Christine’s shoes and thought it a timely and friendly remark bespeaking of Maureen’s obviously outgoing nature, but really thought the last sounds I’d hear were angel voices as the duck smothered me and not the redeeming qualities of shoes in the life of a woman.
They soon came back on task and beat ducky away just as its rear portal was about to do unspeakable things to me.
Ducky is now 96% deflated, I’m free from the “portal” and working to vacate the remaining air.
Then they abandoned me!
Maureen went “to get the car” and I still don’t know where Christine went, only that she did finally return.
Ducky is now dead but the wind is trying to resuscitate it and I’m on my knees on the duck trying to gather it up like a paratrooper on D-day.
I move back and put my knees on the ground, the wet ground, there having been days of rain preceding this sunny, windy day. When I stood up my suit pants had “little boy knees” - big, round, wet spots.
As I’m now standing there, shirt askew and all little boy knees, Officer Smiley rides by on his bicycle. I asked if he had any experience subduing 25 ft. tall yellow ducks and Officer Smiley smiles more broadly as he surveys the insanity of the picture before him. I then ask him to shoot ducky and he, smilingly, says it doesn’t match the description of any known criminals and rides on having offered neither moral nor physical support.
Christine returns and we’re both wondering if Maureen is now home by the pool.
With ducky now in full submission, Maureen and her ducky transporter vehicle arrive with boxes that were once used by someone in the Carter administration. (I’m wondering if the National Archives know she took their boxes.)
Three adults begin stuffing the duck, once a ritual reserved for Pilgrims in November, into a bag. Once we finished solving the riddle of how much duck would you stuff if you stuffed a duck, we closed and boxed the bag, hefting everything into Maureen’s car and going to lunch.
May the next adventure of the 25 ft. tall yellow duck happen on a cool, calm day and may all the preparations, as well as de-preparations, go as smoothly as ours did in Pittsburgh.