Do not feed the duck.
Do not feed the duck bread. Bread offers little nutritional value for ducks, and the empty calories often cause bloat. Worse, moldy bread can lead to fatal infections that decimate entire flocks.
Do not feed the duck too much human food, in general. Handouts from well-meaning humans can make the duck aggressive. It’ll become dependent on your generosity—lazy, even. Unable to survive on its own. That’s not the kind of duck you want to be spending your time with.
Do not pet the duck. A duck is a jealous creature who will become possessive once pet and radiate spite if you so much as smile at another duck.
Do not stroke the duck’s ego. He will start to take digs at you a little too gratuitously in front of his friends or, worse, sign up for an improv class and become everyone’s problem.
Do not fake laugh when the duck quotes popular memes and pretends like he just came up with them. It won’t make him like you more. He likes you only for that Trader Joe’s San Francisco Sourdough you’re holding.
Do not lend the duck a book. He’s highly critical of everything except the classics. He will return it with the pages water damaged and wrinkly. Also, he literally can’t read. He is a duck.
Do not let the duck pitch you on an investment opportunity. He can be quite convincing, but he does not have any knowledge of market trends. He will squander your savings, investing solely and excessively in Wonder Bread.
Do not trust the duck with your social security number. He is careless and will write it down and leave it in a public place. This duck has been responsible for major data breaches at several high-profile corporations.
Do not take a cross-country road trip with the duck. You will do all of the driving. He will insist on playing babbling brook sounds on Spotify. It’s a seven-hour-long compilation, so you won’t even get to the second song in the queue, which you know for a fact is “Defying Gravity” from the Wicked soundtrack.
Do not invite the duck to a SoulCycle class with you. He will steal the focus from your favorite instructor as they try to shoo him out the door. Also, his feet can’t reach the pedals, and that will surely lead to an argument.
Do not take the duck out for a fancy dinner. He will eat all of the complimentary bread within seconds. You will get stuck with the bill every time. (And, again, he really should not be consuming any bread.)
Do not bring the duck into the hot tub with you if he has experienced diarrhea in the last fourteen days. And you’ve seen the grass by the pond. He’s never more than twenty-four hours out from a diarrhea spell.
Do not poke fun at the duck when he finally opens up and shows you his art. It’s actually really good; you just don’t get it. You didn’t go to the Pratt School of Art like he did.
Do not forget to wish the duck a happy birthday. He’s wildly sensitive about those kinds of things. A text a day late is a much bigger affront to him than you’d think.
Do not hesitate when the duck asks you whether he looks ugly today. Say “no” immediately; otherwise, he’ll be seething all afternoon until he inevitably causes an explosive, rage- and margarita-fueled scene at your friend Katie’s engagement dinner.
Do not forgive the duck so easily. He knows what he’s done, and he will do it again if you let it slide.
Do not make plans to start a family with the duck. Deep down, you know he’d make a terrible parent. Ducks famously lead their ducklings across freeways and lose them in storm drains.
Do not assign a deeper meaning to the duck. He is a duck. He cannot be anything other than a duck.
If you must feed the duck, at least feed him one of these approved foods: wheat, barley, milo seeds, or grapes (cut into halves, or even quarters if they are large grapes).
Okay, to be clear: please feed the duck a little bit. We are understaffed and do not have the resources to keep tabs on all the ducks’ diets. If you see a malnourished duck, open your heart and your lunchbox to him.