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April 28th, 2011

An Overdue Retraction

Dear Occidental College Freshman Year Orientation Group,

During that rousing game of “Two Truths And A Lie” our first week of school, I led you all to believe that at some point in my life, I had eaten duck eggs. I don’t remember how much any of you actually cared, but I can tell you I felt impressive when I said it. (Because things you’ve eaten should be the thing you brag about to make friends.) Unfortunately, I now have to issue a retraction for that statement. Before you grab your pitchforks and torches, please allow me to tell you why. It’s a heartbreaking story, and I really think you’ll all be on my side once you hear it, okay?

When I was a kid, my family and I used to spend a lot of time in the desert… Yeah. Let me go ahead an rephrase that, so it doesn’t sound like we all just sat in a yurt and did peyote for several weeks a year.

When I was a kid, my family and I used to take vacations to Palm Springs with my godfather and his son.

Perfect. Onward:

The condo where we used to stay was positioned on a golf course, and we liked to run around on the green and ruin its pristine manicuring. One morning, the Parents woke us all up. “The ducks laid eggs on the green overnight!” We shot out of our beds and ran downstairs. Sure enough, against the palm trees, in the rocks near the water hazard, and all throughout the grass were tons of eggs. Must have been a dozen of them. After we gathered them, the dads cooked them and we all had breakfast. I don’t even like eggs, but these were duck eggs I had found myself and dammit I was going to enjoy them.

What a touching family moment, right? I have always looked back on that day proudly. The idea of finding our own food brought to mind Laura Ingles Wilder, which I found thrilling. Who else could say they experienced that while on vacation? Certainly none of you Orientation Group people. No! Don’t get mad. Tale of woe, remember?

A little while ago, I decided to reminisce aloud. “Hey dad, remember that time Louis and Sam and I found those duck eggs on the golf course in Palm Springs?”

“What?” he said. I told him the whole story in detail, smiling. (Here comes the woe.) He looked at me like I was a moron. “Actually, we…”

“You hid those yourself??” I yelled. He gave me a guilty smile. “They were at least duck eggs though, right?” He furrowed his brow. “DAMMIT, Dad! I told my orientation group at college that I’d eaten duck eggs before!”

Don’t you see? The story I remembered was a lie! I felt cheated, duped. Loved, too, of course (our parents wanted to give us a fun experience). But mostly cheated and duped. How in hell did I not realize what was happening? How could I have gone so long without bringing this up? For god’s sake, there were TWELVE EGGS EXACTLY. One of them probably had a red FDA approval stamp on it.

And what’s more, my “O-Group,” all nine of you, had been victims too. All along you’ve probably thought I was this super cool person who eats the unfertilized embryos of all kinds of birds. I HATE to have to tell you that this is not true. I have only eaten chicken eggs, and I really am not wild about them.

And so,  I must retract the statement I made to you all during O-Week. Two Lies And A Truth, I guess. I hope I have not damaged our relationships too permanently.

Humbly Yours,



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