My kid’s school has teacher in-service today. When I was growing up, this was the sort of thing they made sure the security guards at our local mall knew about, because on school days, they’d spend a lot of time chasing unaccompanied kids out of the mall. They couldn’t make them go to school, but they weren’t going to ditch school at the mall. The public library presumably did the same sort of thing, though I doubt most kids who weren’t me would have ditched school to go to the library. At any rate, these weren’t people employed by the district or the local government. Which presumably a truant officer would be?
Donald Duck, Aquatic Sociopath, has been hired as a truant officer. This is a hideously irresponsible decision. Anyway, he’s spying on his nephews as they dive and swim in a local pond. He scoops them up, including by using a gun that fires a toilet plunger on a rope, which sticks to one nephew’s butt, and dumps them in the locked back of his actual paddy wagon. As he lectures them about the value of education, they literally disassemble the van with pocket knives and escape to their clubhouse. He attempts to jack it up and carry the whole thing onto his van, now a flatbed truck, of course. They thwart that. So he decides to smoke them out.
Now, we could talk a lot about police brutality; there’s a lot to be said there. But by definition, Donald’s dealing with minor children. And he literally starts a fire underneath their clubhouse to drive them out. I suppose we’re lucky he didn’t set fire to the building itself, merely in a convenient cave underneath it. Still, when the boys disguise the chickens they’d been roasting as their own corpses, Donald believes it completely and is overwhelmed by guilt. Never mind that the chickens are plucked, dressed, and presumably even seasoned.
As a side note, let’s talk about the fact that ducks in these sorts of cartoons seem to eat a lot of chicken. This is often referred to as cannibalism. Because ducks are birds and chickens are birds and birds are all alike, right? And they’re both domesticated barnyard birds, so that’s probably even closer related? But I looked it up, and if I’m reading the family tree right, these ducks are no more cannibals for eating chicken than we are if we eat cows. Humans eat chimpanzees sometimes. This is nowhere near that close.
There is a lot to unpack about this cartoon. There’s the fact that Donald and his nephews are literally the only ones we see in it. The fact that the geography around the boys’ clubhouse and indeed the layout of the clubhouse itself varies based on the needs of the cartoon in the moment. Donald doesn’t report to anyone, it seems—given the twist at the end of the cartoon, we can be certain that he didn’t start the day in any kind of official setting and that going after his nephews was just what he was doing that day. Get in van, go after nephews. There is also no mention of telling the boys’ actual parents, because of course there isn’t.
In the end, I’m still left wondering who would hire him. He literally ties the boys together with a rope around their necks. And these are his relatives. To be fair, some people are more awful to family than strangers, on the grounds of family theoretically has to forgive them, but still. I can’t fathom how he’d deal with legitimately troubled children skipping school, not just troublemaking nephews. And realistically, there should be a lot more children to go after, unless they’re the only three attending that school, but here we all are.
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