Letting the Ducks Out

As we roamed by the lake, Moe Keller gave me a lesson on rock skipping as a sport.

“What matters?” I asked. “Is it how far the rock skips or the number of times it skips?”

“Well,” said Moe, “here in the United States what matters is the number of times the rock skips. But in the United Kingdom it’ not like that. Over there what matters is how far the rock goes. Also, over there in the United Kingdom it is not named rock skipping.”

“What is it named?”

“Stone skiffing.”

“Skiffing? Tlike the sound of that!”

When Moe saw that I liked the word skiffing, he teeled off a list of names for skipping rocks. “In Denmark it is named smutting. In Spain it’s making whitecaps. In Poland it’s letting the ducks out.”

“Letting the ducks out? Are you kidding?”

“No joke. That’s what they say.”

“Why do they say that?”

Moe shrugged, “I’m not sure.”

“Let’s focus on the number of skips,” I said. “What's a good number?”

“15 is not bad. 20 is good. 30 is awesome. The record number of skips ever is 51.

“51? And I was so proud of my six skips!”
“Well,” Moe said, “you are just starting out.”

“I think you said you went to a stone skiffing, contest in the United Kingdom. How did it go? Did you skiff your way to a prize?” I asked.

“I had one great skiff,” said Moe. “It landed me in fifth place.”

“Out of?”
“Qut of a hundred or so skiffers.”

“That’s so cool!” I said, patting him on the back. “Bravo! That’s the way to let the ducks out!”

Moe smiled. “Want to see a snapshot?” he asked.
I nodded.

Moe got out a snapshot of him with his prize.

“My goal for the next trip over there is to be in the top three,” he said.

“Rock on!” I said.