Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ugly Duckling Not A Baby Swan But Actual Ugly Duck

The banks of the Iowa River near the campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA have long a been a popular spot to feed the ducks. Despite its already popular reputation, citizens and students have been flocking to the riverbank for a different reason. These come not to feed him, but to mock, point and laugh at one hideously ugly duckling.

Born just this spring, the duckling has been named Petrus by ill-wishers who come to throw bolts and batteries at the poorly favored waterfowl. Not only are humans quick to mock Petrus; his fellow ducks break into fits of laughter whenever he is around.

“There ain’t no swan in this story,” says humanities major, Brian Bitner. “That is just a bone-fide ugly duck.”

As a matter of fact, many of the river’s swans make it a point to peck the duckling in the face whenever they are nearby.

“No fairy tale here,” says Blanco, one of the river’s swans. “He’ll grow up to be the most disgusting duck in the history of duck-lore. He is a Darwinian mystery. Normally a duck like this would not survive but I am guessing he will just because he is so much fun to laugh at. His ugliness will be his bane, and his only hope.”

Even the duck’s own mother couldn’t offer any words of encouragement. “It is what it is,” she says. “I mean, you look up ugly in the dictionary and there is a picture of Philadelphia Phillies right fielder, Jason Werth. But then in the footnotes there is a picture of Petrus."

Long time duck feeder, Maye Abeford, says that it is not what’s on the outside that counts, but what’s on the inside. “And what’s on the inside are the ugliest duck guts you could ever find anywhere on all the face of this great earth,” she concludes.

One University of Iowa math professor has promised extra credit to any of his students who are able to quantify the duck’s ugliness in terms of a mathematical equation. University hospital residents have come across a new form of flesh-eating bacteria that they have named “Petrus” in honor of the duck.

The duck does bring a certain aspect of danger to the community. Eighteen people were admitted to intensive care for laughter related injuries when an equally ugly pug mauled the duckling last Friday.

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