Duck who isn't DonaldToday is a great day for lovers of Donald Duck or the University of Oregon. It’s Donald Duck Day. Rejoice. I once wrote a column about how I got through the whole first and second grade on the strength of a purloined drawing of Donald. You can read it at the bottom of this post.

Donald Duck Day commemorates the first appearance of Donald Duck on June 9th 1934, when he featured in the Silly Symphony cartoon The Wise Little Hen, You may have forgotten that Donald Duck’s full name is Donald Fauntleroy Duck. That’s good for a laugh right there..Also, up until recently, Donald Duck was mascot of the University of Oregon.  Now the mascot is a duck who looks like Donald and quacks like Donald but isn’t Donald. So today would be a good day to  look for ways to find unique solutions to pressing problems. If you can use laughter for problem solving, you get double points.

“A good belly laugh leads to the release of endorphins from the brain,” says Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore as reported in National Geographic. “That release sets off a cascade of heart-healthy biological events. Endorphins, pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters, activate receptors on the surface of the endothelium, the layer of flat cells lining blood vessels. That leads to the release of nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels—increasing blood flow, lessening inflammation, inhibiting platelet clumping, and reducing the formation of cholesterol plaque.” That’s exactly what Michael Miller said.

“Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians.  If it would depend on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in the Senate.”

It looked like Donald Duck – Quite A Bit   by Dorothy Wilhelm

It was a crayon drawing of Donald Duck. According to my mother, it proved that I was a five year old prodigy who needed immediately to be put in school and coincidentally removed from her hair. The thing is, I didn’t really draw the picture.

On a bright September day my mother walked with me to our one room schoolhouse. Her goal was to convince the teacher that her only daughter – that would be me – was simply too bright and precocious to remain unschooled another day and should be allowed to start school without delay, that afternoon if possible. Miss Johnson was unconvinced and while they argued, I discovered a box of coloring crayons  and several sheets of paper, an exciting luxury in those days. On the bottom sheet of paper was the faint outline of a coloring book size picture of the celebrity duck, probably a transfer from something that was shipped with it. I followed the lines carefully with black crayon and held it aloft . My mother snatched  up the picture triumphantly.  Miss Johnson, possibly having  visions of finding another Fanny Cooney, the Montana artist who was drawing cartoons at that time, allowed  me to start school that very day. My chief academic achievement was that I was the entire first and second grade. I suppose the teacher must have wondered why I was never able to rise to those promised artistic heights  again. The answer was simple. I never found another drawing to copy

What I didn’t know then is that we don’t learn most of our important life lessons in school. The most lasting lessons sneak up from behind and grab you in an anatomically inconvenient place at a time you’re least expecting it.

For instance, for the last few weeks I’ve been testing a personal alert system which is supposed to call for help if I should fall. Falls are a major problem for people past seventy and as I’ve  had several falls, it seemed a sensible step. My SureResponse comes from my wireless phone service provider. It uses a GPS navigation system to track me down and theoretically send aid no matter where I manage to fall, even on remote hiking trails or in a distant city.  What I didn’t know is that it also makes a 911 call if the battery is gets too low. The sensible idea behind this is that if no one has moved the device or charged it for long enough for the battery to expire, something must be wrong. I guess that just as the battery is about to die, the device says, “Well,she’s not coming. I suppose she must be dead too,” and with its last gasp, puts in a call to 911.  I didn’t know this. I was sitting in church quietly last Sunday, when a female voice spoke clearly from my purse and asked, “Dorothy, do you need help?” This was a surprise. I’d been hoping for divine inspiration but thus far all I’d gotten from my purse was antacids and used kleenex. My first thought was, “What do you know, God really is a woman.”  Then I realized that the whole congregation was about to be treated to a 911 call, and I sprang to my feet and ran out of the place, muffling the purse against my ample bosom. Life Lesson. Keep the battery charged at all times.  It probably wouldn’t hurt to read the Instruction Manual either

There’s always something new to learn. Famed explorer Helen Thayer often tells how she literally had to teach her left leg to walk again after a horrendous accident.

No one ever found out that I hadn’t drawn the picture but I knew it wasn’t mine. I never even wanted to bring it home and hang it up on the refrigerator. Which is just as well since we didn’t have one. . No day should pass without a lesson learned, but count on it, whatever it is, it will be something you didn’t want to know. Only last week I learned that if you set a pan of brownies on a hot stove burner, it will probably catch fire. The flames can get 18 inches high before the smoke alarm goes off. But that’s a life lesson for another day.

Dorothy Wilhelm is a professional speaker and author of No Assembly Required. Contact her at  PO Box 881, DuPont, WA 98327 or 1-800-548-9264  .email: Website:

Orson Welles


from Hearthstone Humor Laureate Dorothy Wilhelm /">"> will be issued on Monday and Thursday.


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