The Depressing Duck
The depressing duck, Anas depressidae, is one of the most fearsome hunters of modern times. Closely related to the common mallard, Anas platyrhynchos, it has differentiated from its cousin about five million years ago, just as its prey had started to evolve into its modern form. Indeed, the depressing duck hunts almost exclusively humans.
First of all, let us clear up one common misconception: the depressing duck is not, itself, depressed. It is, however, extremely depressing for people to see a depressing duck. Why that is the case remains unclear, despite numerous studies on the subject.
In fact, the depressing duck is one of the most studied animals on the planet, and yet, one of the least understood. One reason is that all those who have studied it have fallen into deep depression. As a consequence thereof, their accounts often deviate significantly from a rigorous scientific analysis of their subject. Take, for example, this short introduction to his exposé on the depressing duck by the late Chuck Chummy, former student at ULCA (he committed suicide shortly after the completion of said introduction):
“The depressing duck... really... Why can't people see? Can't you see how pointless it all is? Nothing will ever work out anyway! She doesn't love me, don't you get it? Its all empty words! Promises that will never be kept! And nobody understands that it won't ever change! We'd be better off dead!”
This is one of the more informative pieces of scientific literature written about the depressing duck, since it at least mentions the animal's full name. It is believed that many more studies of the species have ended up in the literary section of the library than in the scientific one, due to the authors spending more time lamenting their fate than talking about the duck.
The recent genetic studies of the depressing duck have been conducted purely on samples that were obtained through automated trapping of animals. Of course, before analysis, scientists could not be sure from which species they had a sample, but cross-referencing and multiple comparison over several thousand samples have allowed them to reconstitute the genetic history of the depressing duck.
Even though nobody, as of yet, knows how the depressing duck is so depressing, the why has been common knowledge since long ago. The depressing duck depresses its victims, and follows them until they commit suicide. Once they are dead, he then feasts on their corpse. A human body can sustain a fully grown depressing duck for up to two months, or so it is believed, after Max Tournier, of the New York Center for the Study of Completely Crazy Stuff (NYC-SCCS) has made a complex multi-factorial analysis of suicide rates cross-referenced with duck migration patterns.
The depressing duck has been classified a class A dangerous creature, and governments around the world are expending an enormous amount of money and effort to eradicate it. However, it was not always so.
In Nordic cultures, the depressing duck was venerated as a portal to the gods, and was believed to allow humans to glance at the truth of the universe. The depressing side-effects, the Scandinavian tribes believed, were due to the fact that mere humans could not contemplate the truth without going mad.
In France, during the “Siècle des Lumières” (XVIII century, give or take depending on the source), the depressing duck was a constant companion to more than a few famous artists. Even today, it is not uncommon to see young people in search of inspiration willingly fall prey to this most devious creature.