According to Google, the word “gullible” is defined as, “easily cheated or tricked; credulous.” My picture is next to the definition. It’s a strange world out there. How is a person to know what is real and what is false?

I know a young man who was assaulted in an office setting. Another man grabbed a stapler off the desk and wallopped him over the head with it. It split his head wide open. In the hospital emergency room, the doctor closed the guy’s gaping head wound with a row of staples. There’s an element of irony in that which strains credulity.

I once heard Rod Stewart sing his hit, “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” (Memo to Rod: No.) Pat Boone once released an album of heavy metal tunes. If I’m expected to believe that Rod Stewart thinks he’s sexy and Pat Boone has become a metalhead, you could probably convince me that the late Mr. Rogers ran the neighborhood crackhouse.

My friend Marquita, who loves to play on my gullibility, showed me something she found on the sidewalk near her house.

“What is that?” I asked.

“It’s a roach clip,” she replied.

“What’s a roach clip?”

I should have been tipped off by the roll of her eyes when she said, “Didn’t you see the Karate Kid movies years ago? Remember when the trainer forced the kid to practice catching houseflies in midair with a pair of chopsticks? It’s like that, only it’s for catching roaches.”

I believed her. I spent weeks crawling in the fuzz-encrusted grease behind my appliances, snapping my little clip at roaches. I eventually became quite proficient. It’s still a lot quicker to just step on them.

Yesterday, while Marquita and I were walking through my neighborhood, I stopped to talk to a heating and air conditioning serviceman about cleaning my furnace.

“Do you also want your ducts cleaned?” he asked.

“My ducks? You clean ducks? Really?” I asked, looking to Marquita for advice.

“Go for it,” she whispered, stifling a giggle. “You know how you complain about about those nasty, dirty ducks who traipse all over your yard, making a mess of your patio and leaving feathers everywhere.”

“How much do you charge to clean the ducks?” I asked the serviceman.

“It depends on how big the ducts are. I can come over and measure them for you.”

I sent the rest of the day herding all the ducks from the neighborhood ponds and lining them up to be measured, before it occurred to me that Marquita might be (once again) pulling my leg. I’ll bet that serviceman was referring to some other kind of ducks. Maybe those decorative concrete ducks people have in their yards. That Marquita is not going to make a fool of me this time.

I spent several hours dragging every concrete duck in the neighborhood over to my yard to be cleaned. As if I weren’t tired enough after that, I had to stay up all night working on my outfit for work the next day. Marquita said it’s, “National Dress Like your Favorite Barnyard Animal Day,” and she suggested a donkey (a.k.a. jackass) costume for some reason. I hope to win first prize.


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