On January 13, we celebrate the bright yellow bath toy. I must admit I have a soft spot for these. I own three, one dressed for a night on the town, one dressed like a soldier from Napoleon’s time, and one that is Irish, a souvenir of my time in Ireland last summer.
Like Pasadena, Portland, Oregon has a rose parade. As part of that in the 1980s, there was a rubber duck race. A huge dump truck would pull up on one of the bridges over the Willamette, and dump what looked like thousands of ducks into the river. Each duck was numbered, and had been “bought” by someone for $5.00 if I remember correctly. They would float down the river with their owners shouting encouragement. It is one of my favorite memories of Portland during that era.
Duckies weren’t always the colorful vinyl we know today. The earliest ducks were made from hard rubber in the mid to late 19th century. The ducks were solid and could not float. They were used as chew toys. During the era of the World Wars, rubber was too valuable to be used on simple toys, so plastic and vinyl began to be used. Landon Smart Lawrence was the first to patent a design for these toys, specifically the variety that was weighted so that, while still buoyant, it would always stand up the right way in the water.
So why do we celebrate these on January 13? According to a 1973 Sesame Street calendar, Rubber Duckie’s Birthday is January 13. A friend of Ernie and Big Bird, Duckie made his debut in a February 1970 episode. You can listen to Ernie’s delightful song here. So celebrate this day by singing along with Ernie, or taking your duckie into the bath and feeling like a kid again.
Quotes about play
Always jump in the puddles! Always skip alongside the flowers. The only fights worth fighting are the pillow and food varieties.–Terri Guillemets
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.–Carl Jung
Does it not appear to you versatility is the true and rare characteristic of that rare thing called genius–versatility and playfulness? In my mind they are both essential.–Mary Russell Mitford
Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.–H. G. Wells
Fun is fundamental, there is no way around it. You absolutely must have fun. Without fun, there is no enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm, there is no energy. Without energy, there are only shades of gray.–Doug Hall
Go and play. Run around. Build something. Break something. Climb a tree. Get dirty. Get in some trouble. Have some fun.—Brom
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.–Tom Robbins
I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.–Leo F. Buscaglia
It is a happy talent to know how to play.–Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.–Michael Jordan
Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.—Heraclitus
Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.–Diane Ackerman
lay keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good.–Lucia Capocchione
We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.–Charles Schaefer
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.–George Bernard Shaw
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