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You’ve Been Playing “Duck, Duck, Goose” Wrong Your Whole Life

BREAKING NEWS: Your childhood was probably a lie.

1. Across this great nation, a little-known war has raged, passive-aggressively, for decades.

As a youth in Minnesota, I was a sometimes-participant in a playground game called “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.” In it, a group of child humans would sit in a circle while another circled round them, tapping his peers upon the head, pronouncing them various colors of duck (i.e. “purple duck, blue duck, orange duck,” etc.) before choosing his prey, whom he’d tap on the head before yelling, “GRAY DUCK!” This child would then jump up and attempt to tag the caller before he ran fully around the circle and took the seat where The Gray Duck had been seated. If she didn’t, she was “it,” the new caller.

Playing it in our home state, most of us had no idea how very alone we were in our version of this simple, stressful game. But many of us would grow up, and leave home, even if just temporarily, and it’s there (the Non-Minnesota areas) we’d happen upon a startling discovery. If this is the first time you’re hearing about it, I’m sorry.

The entire rest of the country is playing this game wrong.

They are playing some abomination version called “Duck, Duck, Goose.”

2. Here is a visual breakdown of this hostile divide.

One lone stalwart in a sea of misguided blue.

3. Duck, Duck, Goose’s inferiority is self-explanatory, but I am going to explain to you why it is so inferior.

Look at these animals. One of them (the goose) is pretty different. I mean they are both birds but, bird-wise, they are pretty different. Anybody should be able to tell the difference between ducks and geese. That distinction makes this version of the game’s symbolism insultingly simplistic. If you are someone who can’t identify a goose in a lineup of ducks, why? What is your problem that you don’t know what geese look like!!!

4. By contrast, look at these three birds.

Wow. Those sure are three of the same kind of bird. One of them is gray, yes, and eventually you will pick that one out of the crowd. But it won’t be quite so easy. It’ll take a keener eye and a sharper ear.

Says Wikipedia: “‘Duck, Duck, Gray Duck’ is a variant played by children in Minnesota. This [version] adds a layer of listening skills to differentiate between ‘gray duck’ and ‘green duck’ as opposed to ‘duck’ and ‘goose’.”

This is why “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” requires a cleverer child: This version of the game allows for TRICKERY. For example: The person calling out duck colors can tap someone on the head and say “Purple duck, blue duck, GR-,” and watch that person start to get up, and then finish “-EEN duck, haha,” and laugh and laugh while that child sits back down again, humiliated. This is good character building.

5. Let these sexy-angry ladies tell you, again, why Duck, Duck, Goose is for chumps.

 

DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE IS TOO EASY. THE SECOND YOU HEAR A G-SOUND YOU ARE UP AND RUNNING BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT WORD IS GOING TO BE “GOOSE.”

This makes it way, way too easy to win. Do you want your children feeling so easily self-satisfied? Proud? Confident in their ability to succeed not only in playground games, but in life itself?

No, you do not.

6. Oh, look! A group of young children sitting in a circle in the grass, playing a game. This looks perfectly nice and innocent, right?

No. Listen to what that boy is saying. He’s invoking the incorrect bird type.

8. Look at THIS group of young children sitting in a circle in the grass, playing a game. They are correct and good.

I am proud of you, little redhead. You are standing up for what is right: Duck. Duck. Gray Duck.

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