Some people, such as Havi Brooks, are fortunate enough to have been tamed by a rubber duck. Some people might never consider the value of taming a rubber duck. Some of us try to tame our own rubber duck.
Why would we want to? The benefits are not immediately obvious, but like many things in life the real pleasure is in the doing, not the done. Taming, according to Antoine St. Exupery, is not much practiced these days. In his book The Little Prince, he says ”One only understands the thing one tames. Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things ready-made at the shops, but there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship.”
To tame something is to make a friend of heart. Taming operates both ways, resulting in a mutual amplification of joy. The tamed and the tamer eventually become indistinguishable. Try watching dog owners on the beach and see if you can tell if the dog or the owner is having more fun, if the dog or the owner is in charge.
Taming something gives you the chance to truly know that thing with your heart, to expand two souls with joy, to engage in magical ritual. But why tame a rubber duck?
Rubber ducks have an astonishing character, a view of the world that is both innocent and yet imbued with the wisdom of a stoic philosopher. Whatever happens to a rubber duck it endures, with a warm smile and a friendly sparklingly eye, yet a duck spends most of its time just waiting for the next bath. Such a worldview is invaluable, definitely worth sharing in our own lives.
How does one tame a rubber duck? Like any life enhancing process, it takes time, repetition, ritual. Naturally, we must be present with our duck, not interacting, just sitting quietly, glancing toward it, rather than gazing. Over time, we will know the duck, and the duck will know us. Baths will become more than just washing, they become a chance to commune with a friend. And when you feel loss as you leave the duck, when the duck smiles at you with the warm sadness of the Mona Lisa, you know that you have tamed the duck, and the duck has tamed you.