One is never alone with a rubber duck.
– Douglas Adams
January 13, 2013, is National Rubber Ducky Day. Obviously, I’m going to sidetrack from my usual writerly topics and take a moment to celebrate one of the greatest inventions ever. The rubber ducky.
Rubber duckies have been charming our suds off since the 1800s. Despite not being able to fly, these little yellow bathtub buddies have come a long way, hatching from a hard-rubber novelty and growing up into a global icon.
Rubber Duck Races
All over the world, charity organizations hold rubber duck races each year to raise money. And it’s worked. The Freestore Foodbank Rubber Ducky Regatta in Ohio has raised almost $5 million since 1994. Not bad for a bunch of yellow, squeaky, bathtub toys.
The Friendly Floatees
On January 10, 1992, a cargo container of nearly 29,000 bathtub toys, including rubber ducks, went overboard. Over the next several years, these Friendly Floatees made history as their landings taught oceanographers more about how ocean currents move.
The Guinness World Record for World’s Largest Rubber Duck Collection
In 2007, fellow Seattleite Charlotte Lee earned the Guinness World Record for World’s Largest Rubber Duck Collection with her impressive flock of 2,583 different rubber ducks. And as of April 10, 2011, she still holds the record with 5,631.
Despite my fascination with rubber ducks, my own flock is small. Only eight. But each one is meaningful. (They have to be. Without that stipulation, they’d take over, and I don’t have as much room as Charlotte Lee.)
Meet the Rubber Ducky Copywriter Flock
Top Left: Hot pink and sassy, Vivian ducky is a gift from Mom a couple years ago.
Top left Center: Miss Ducky is my first rubber ducky. I bought her to help make bathtime for my Shih Tzu Princess easier. Princess promptly dunked me in the tub. Now that it’s almost two years since Princess’s passing, I get to smile when I look at Miss Ducky.
Bottom Left: Franklinette is a gift from Sweetie. This sweet little spotted ducky commemorates our first Christmas as an engaged couple.
Bottom Center (left): San Franny marks the end of a loooooooong plane trip. Despite my nearly crippling fear of flying, I managed five plane changes, 10 hours on the tarmac and being stuck in a glass elevator with someone else’s screaming toddler at the 7th floor of the hotel at 2:30 a.m. Somehow a refrigerator magnet wasn’t going to cut it to mark this event.
Bottom Center (middle): Twins, Pinky and Perky, commemorate my last road trip with Princess. We went to Canada, were searched at the border (me and my wiseacre mouth) and got stranded in downtown Victoria (Canada owes me a hot dog).
Bottom Right: Inspector Fish n’ Chips was acquired on my first trip to London. Again with the fear of flying, but I really wanted to get to Paris and I got to stop in London on the way. I could not find a rubber ducky in Paris. Maybe they’re too sophisticated?
Big Ducky: Penske, my one-pound rubber ducky, commemorates my family’s big adventure as we packed up our stuff (and our lives) and moved from Houston to Seattle. Dad drove the largest Penske truck he could rent without having a commercial license and with Mom and I hauling our own respective loads, we migrated north to start new chapters of our lives. It’s worked out.
So, that’s the flock! I do have a “To Get List.” I need a France ducky, a Texas ducky, a Seattle ducky and a wedding ducky. But getting them off the Internet just doesn’t have the same meaning as getting them when I travel. As for the wedding ducky, though, I’ll make an exception.
Have a great National Rubber Ducky Day!