The latest piece from WaPo’s Gene Weingarten reads more like a cry for help than an actual column. Gene professes his love for a “Drinking Duck“, a toy that bobs up and down into a bowl of water over and over and over again. This is not just your average toy. It requires real care and attention to keep it operational. Gene talks about his duties of refilling the water bowl for the toy. He even checked in on the bird each morning and each evening.
As time went on, Gene laments that the duck started to fall apart. The little hat started to fall off. Mold began to grow on the bird. A pained Weingarten reports that he was forced to throw the duck away. The level of emotion and sincerity put into this piece is oddly unsettling. On one hand, Weingarten is known for his weird soliloquies. On the other, it comes off as a doddering old fart getting angry that he has to throw away his child’s toy. If I had a grandfather who pulled me aside and detailed his routine for checking on a children’s duck toy morning and night, I’d threaten to put him in a home. Hopefully, they’ll let Gene keep his Pulitzer Prize in the loony bin.