The Bling Duck

It was fall of 2014, and my daughter’s school was launching its annual fundraiser–selling magazines, cookie dough and such. I was quite excited to see the cookie dough catalog, but Kate came home excited about something else: Ducks.

Evidently, the kids earned these little rubber ducks as they sold items. And they could wear the ducks on lanyards around their necks.


There were 12 ducks to collect–and they were modeled after pop culture icons. My daughter Kate had Pitbull.


Each of these ducks probably cost… oh, I don’t know… four cents? But to the kids they were pure gold.

However–and this was important–their value wasn’t equal. A whole economy had sprung up around the ducks, and trading them was serious business. 

Kate tried to explain the hierarchy to me.



The main takeaway was that the Sheldon duck was wildly popular. But even Sheldon paled in comparison to another duck…

The Bling Duck. [Cue the angels singing.]


The Bling Duck. Coated in fake diamonds, glinting in the afternoon sun. Everyone wanted that thing.

The catch: You had to sell seven items to get it.

Kate spotted the Bling Duck as she was thumbing through the fundraiser material.


Claire, my youngest, just heard the words “bling” and “duck” and she was in.


For the rest of the afternoon, these two whipped themselves into a frenzy, and became convinced that the Bling Duck was the key to all joy in life.




I was like, “Guys, I don’t want to buy seven things. Forget about the Bling Duck!”

I started paging through the catalog. “OK,” I said, “I’ll buy a couple tubs of cookie dough and maybe this 20-year subscription to Real Simple magazine. That’s it.”

But shoot, that cookie dough catalog looked GOOD. There were like 15 different flavors!

“We’ll get a couple more cookie doughs!” I declared. “And maybe Nana will buy some cookie dough, too. But then we’ll keep forgetting to give it to her, and six months from now we’ll eat it ourselves!”

When I filled out the form, I threw in yet another cookie dough. Hey, it’s to support the school! And just like that, we had seven items and my kids were on their way to Bling Duck bliss. A life like this…


… that lasted roughly two days, then reverted, predictably, to this:



And yes, we did eventually eat my mom’s cookie dough. Sorry, Mom! Can I interest you in a diamond-studded duck as a consolation?


  1. Are you living my life in a parallel universe? I remember the duck craze year one. When I say year…I really mean that it lasted till the end of the fundraiser and than the ducks were stashed away in a desk drawer. Then came year two…craze is alive again! So, thinking I’m a very smart and cool mom, I dig out last year’s ducks and offer that she could wear these and have more ducks to trade and that these will be in high demand because of course this year’s ducks are different. WRONG! LAME!(do kids still say lame?) GET OUTTA HERE MOM! Sigh…

    • Oh my gosh, YES! They did the ducks two years in a row, and I was just like you, thinking they could all be thrown together as one big group, traded, collected, etc. But NO. GOD FORBID you mix the 2014 ducks with the 2015 crew. Why are we so lame, Jennifer? Why??

  2. I love your cartoons and especially these little stories. My favorite is the microwave story. I read that story just two hours after my husband and I stood in front of the microwaves at home depot arguing over which microwave would be best for us. See we were arguing because really wanted the microwave that claimed you could cook a turkey in it. That’s so wrong, you just do not cook a turkey in a microwave. Anyway, thanks for making me laugh.

    • Thank you, Amanda! I’m trying to do more stories (one per week), so we’ll see how that goes! I feel like the microwave one could even use a “Part 2” because there are so many issues with that thing! : ) Also, I agree – you don’t cook a turkey in a microwave! Can you imagine on Thanksgiving… *BEEP BEEP* “What’s that?” “Oh, that’s the microwave! The turkey is done!”

  3. I’m one of those horrible moms who throws the catalog in the recycling bin, writes a check to the school, and takes my kids to the dollar store.

  4. This happens to us every summer with little plastic beasties inside ice cream wrappers! We have had Angry Birds, Minions, soccer players and various other little figures! We had to keep buying ice creams to get that one rare Golden Angry Bird or whatever! Now they are languishing somewhere in a box! ?

  5. You are a masterful story teller madam capturing the seriousness of the nonsense that prevails in daily life with kids lol.

  6. The strangest thing is – in our universe fundraising, selling cookies or no such school supported group collaborations exist.
    But I still could relate to this all.

    In one was or the other , kids all over the world find something really really important which we , as parents, know won’t last. Those really important things will be piling up in cupboards year on year forgotten by their masters. And we can’t just dump them as so much of agony they felt is attached to these random things.

    I would like to know the various rubber duckies from all over world ?

  7. Hahaha! Being willing to give anything for a thing and then just putting it in a random box and forgetting about it sounds too familiar to me.

  8. After reading this I wonderd, “Why does this never happen at my school?”. One year we had one of those fun-runs, and there so many different prizes! Trading would be REALLY complicated business! Another time everyone wanted one prize: wireless headphones. But you had to donate $1,000.

  9. OMG! I remember Boosterthon! it was so obnoxious, but some of the prizes were actually pretty cool!

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