Monday, April 8th
I had arrived early this Monday morning to meet with my teaching assistant Zakir to go over the lesson plan for Romanticism. After our meeting, we began walking to our classroom to view our school’s beautiful fountain. It was there that I first heard the ducks. Not that I had not heard them before, but that I really heard them this time. I understood every quack as I understood English and found it very difficult to listen to Zakir. I thought I was going insane and I was quick to dismiss this for my lack of sleep the night before and the accumulation of stress that naturally progresses as the semester drags on. Yet, the situation was much too odd for me to not pursue this further. Zakir brought back my attention to inform me that students were coming and that it was nearly 10:30. I decided to take one last look at the ducks, but they were silent.
Wednesday, April 10th
I arrived extra early this morning—alone this time. I sat there bundled up by the small man-built lake at UC Merced, waiting for the ducks to show up. The sun had barely began to rise and I wondered if the students (who were slowly beginning to awake and roam about) would find me strange to be here, but my fascination with the ducks overcame any insecurity about how I might be perceived; no one seemed to notice me anyways. Sure enough, a duck eventually flew down near me and I stared at it until it stared back and quacked. I was astounded. I understood it. It had asked what I was looking at and upon seeing my astonished look, it inquired if I could understand it. I said I could, but it just cocked its head and looked at me. I decided to try a new approach. I quacked back at it with the words I intended in my mind. This seemed to work well enough as the duck responded. My God…I was conversing with a duck!
Wednesday, May 1st
I have found this duck’s name to be Quackington. He is the leader duck of all the ducks to come to the Merced area. He had been flying to our school for some time now to find ways to get back at the humans for destroying the natural landscape. The more I spoke with Quackington, the more I sympathized and understood him. He has introduced me to other ducks since my initial contact with him. I have found myself finding more in common with the ducks than I have with other humans. I agree with their free lifestyle and their emphasis on the ecosystem. How I wish I could fly and be free; free of responsibility and materialistic humanity.
Wednesday, May 8th
I have had it! Today is the day I become one with the ducks. I have learned their language well enough these past few weeks. I find the ducks completely superior to my human counterparts and completely more intellectual. I feel no remorse leaving behind my human life here in Merced. Farewell Zakir, my students, and my colleagues! I will no longer be called Humberto. I will now and forever be known as Quackson Quackcia! I am off! Here I come Quackington!
—Quackson Quackcia (Formerly Humberto)
Wednesday, May 8th
Today was a weird day. My professor stripped off his shirt, shoes, socks, and ran into the water today before class. He was shouting many different quacks and different forms of the word. The whole situation was just so confusing, especially considering how much we like Garcia. The police were called, and he is being carted away now in an ambulance. He keeps shouting, “Long live the ducks! Be free, Quackington! Be free and end this human oppression!” I think Garcia took that Romanticism lecture a little too literally.
I hope it was apparent that I was making a parody of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Specifically, Gulliver’s fourth travel. Of course, instead of the horse people, I chose our normal, everyday ducks based here at UC Merced. This also works as my love letter to the class, as I use many references to parts of the class that happened. This is much more than me writing my professor’s descent into madness, but rather a simple parody with hints of Romanticism. It isn’t represented too strongly, but the main appeal was for Garcia to really get in touch with his natural side and favor the side of nature against humanity and industry. He sympathizes and relates to nature loving ducks and decides to side with them. The choice to use Garcia as my main character was more of my final love-letter-send-off for the semester. I respect my professor so much, and I appreciate his humor and for allowing me to be myself. This is my weird way of thanking him. He puts up with my antics for a semester, so naturally I write him in my story having a mental breakdown, stripping to his boxers and running into a lake quacking wildly.
I decided to use a journal-entry format for this to give my narrative structure, but to also make it more personalized and stylized. It documents the start of our Romanticism lecture, and leads up to the due date of this creative project. So, perhaps I am prophetic and this does come true. As of writing this post- review of my work, there is still time for Garcia to quack into the morning. Also, pay attention to the use of ducks and quack. No offense to Garcia, but I just thought the word and its absurdity fit the material.
I will oddly miss this class. A lot of memorable moments and friendships made here. Thank you.