We have several gaggles of ducks and geese here in Bend. Most of them hang out by Mirror Pond, downtown. They waddle around looking for free bread from children and tourists, and they poop all over the grass.

Some of the ducks are aggressive, and will follow you around, squawking loudly to get the last crumbs from your sandwich. Some of the mommy ducks stop traffic on Franklin so they can cross the street with their babies waddling behind them. I have no idea what’s on the other side of the street, and I doubt they do either. But they still waddle over there, to check.

These ducks are loud. They are obnoxious. They have bad manners, and they never ask for anything, they just expect it.

Of course, it occurs to me that the ducks are like many Americans in the middle of the worst economic meltdown in history. There is much fuss. We want things to be given to us and fixed. We’d like the rest of the sandwiches, but if we can’t get them, we’ll fight for crumbs.

The ducks are animals, though, and I bet if the tourists stop coming, the ducks will figure out a way to feed themselves and their babies. They’ll have to eat stuff they find in the water, instead of bread, and maybe they’ll have to back up and move down stream a bit to find an easier place to live and hunt.

Even spoiled ducks can figure out how to survive in tough times, if they need to. More of them may have to cross the street to the unknown. I bet we will too.