The Question Obama Ducked, Ctd

The Great Duck/Horse Debate

Readers tackle the critical duck/horse question:

I would take on the 100 duck-sized horses any day.  Horses are prey animals and their first instinct is to run from any danger so there would be little, if any, fighting involved as long as they were not cornered.  Horses also are very hierarchical, so if you can assert your dominance then they will give way to you. And asserting that dominance usually just means projecting confidence and fearlessness around them.

A horse-sized duck on the other hand?  I don't know much about ducks but I've seen some nasty geese that were very territorial.  Maybe they had a nest nearby but a large duck with a huge beak?  No thanks.

But another notes, "You can't distract a hundred duck-sized horses with a couple slices of stale bread." Another:

Those Obama staffers are crazy. I know they're busy, but have none of them played StarCraft? If I had art skills, I'd draw or photoshop a picture of a person surrounded by 100 duck-sized horses to scale; they might think differently. You can only deal with one, maybe two at a time. Meanwhile they're free to come at you from every direction. It just takes a few of them biting and charging your legs to knock you down, then you're screwed. Those tiny hoofs would hurt. 

The horse-sized duck? No hooves or teeth (ever been bitten by a duck?).

It could bite your head and maybe snap your neck, or trample you, or clock you with a wing. For your options, you can trap it somewhere or jump onto its back and snap its skinny neck. You can probably outrun it or outmaneuver it, or escape into a building or up a tree. Evade it and set a trap maybe – depends on where you are. I'm betting anyone with any martial arts or military hand-to-hand training could probably take it in close quarters. Unless I'm missing something, it's far less dangerous than 100 tiny horses.

Another disagrees:

Not to be a killjoy, but whoever came up with this duck-and-horse business clearly has never been close to a duck. I've raised ducks for years, and when they choose to they can wallop you with a wing so hard that it leaves a welt for days. A mother protecting her young will hit so hard she breaks not just the bones in your hand but those in her own wing. So a duck the size of a horse? It could kill a human in a single second with one blow, easy. Give me the 100 duck-sized horses any day.

Another duck expert weighs in:

Having grown up spending summers on my parents' farms, I can only conclude: the White House staffers who debated this question are not farm people.  The answer to the question, obviously, is "100 duck-sized horses."  And, just as obviously, not because you can stomp on them.  Have you been in close proximity to ducks? And have you paid attention recently to the size of your foot and the strength of your leg?  No, you grab a few of the closest ones, snap their necks, and then use them as weapons.  With their longish legs and their centered body mass, they'll function decently as equine-style maces. 

That horrible image aside, yes, I get the political metaphor.  The temptation in life is to think that there is the duck-horse just around the corner – one decisive battle (which you'll win) and then it's all over.  The reality, almost always, is the small set of annoyances that must be attended to in small batches.  And if they're ignored, they have a tendency to swarm.


Long-time reader, from Canada, also a redditor. I'm sure someone has sent you this already, but the reddit community was pretty much unanimous in agreeing that Preston Manning, founder of the Reform Party and leader of the official opposition during most of Prime Minister Jean Chretien's time in office, gave the best-ever answer to the "100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck" question:

I prefer the horse-sized duck. I like horses, period. After subduing the horse-sized duck, I would then have an animal which I could fly as well as ride.

But that response is now rivaled by a Dish reader:

After reading your post, I couldn’t help but think of the terror of a Trojan horse-sized duck filled with duck-sized horses.