How Often Do You Clean Your Ducks?

It happened again last night. A telephone solicitor trying to get me to have my ducts cleaned. I’m not sure how often it is necessary to have that work done, but there seems to always be someone “working in your neighbourhood” which means “we can offer a very good deal.” Pardon me for being skeptical. If I need your services I will find you. If you cold-called me, I probably don’t need whatever it is you are offering.

Still, yesterday’s call afforded me with the opportunity to once again confuse ducts for ducks. I will give the salesman his due – he was very persistent, but eventually gave up on me. Rather than write out the encounter from scratch, I’m instead re-posting this one from September 2016.  The dialogue is as accurate as my memory allows.

“Good evening sir, my name is Robert and I am calling about duct cleaning. We are having a special in your area.”

I couldn’t resist. And his thick Indian accent made it easy.

“Duck cleaning? I am so glad you called. I’ve been meaning to get the ducks cleaned.”


I know these are seagulls and not ducks. I also know I have taken pictures of our ducks, but couldn’t find any on my computer or the phone. Please accept these as a substitute to illustrate the story.

“Well sir we can help you with that. How many bedrooms do you have?”

“That doesn’t matter, we don’t keep our ducks in the bedroom you know. We keep them outside.”

There is silence on his end. On my end my wife is having a hard time not exploding in laughter. I’m not sure holding it in is healthy.

“Sir I’m not sure you understand. I am talking about duct cleaning.”

“Yes, that’s right, duck cleaning, we want to get our ducks cleaned. We have quite a few.”

Actually they aren’t our ducks, but they do swim in the stream outside our front door.

“Sir I mean duct cleaning. D. U. C.T.”

“Yes, that is right. Duck cleaning. D.U.C.K. We have a lot of ducks in the pond and we like to get them cleaned once a year.”

As I said, it’s a stream, but for some reason I told him it was a pond. I think my subconscious figured he would need less of an explanation.

“You are wasting my time. Good bye.”

Hey, he called me. I didn’t ask for the call, and at least I answered rather than let him hear the impersonal answering machine. And I didn’t hang up on him immediately, which I am sure usually happens to telephone solicitors.

But now I have a problem. Who will I get to clean the ducks?

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