a panda story for my friend jen

once upon a time there was a panda named quacky. quacky liked to read harper’s magazine while drinking earl grey tea steeped in teacups made of honey that only dissolved when you were all done with your tea. quacky was a lucky panda, and most of the time she knew it, although sometimes she would curl up with her sobakawa pillow and sing erasure songs, crying deep into the night along with the words.

one morning, quacky had a really good idea. not just a good idea, but a Really good one, the kind you write down and remember for months and months. quacky had the really good idea of devoting eight minutes a day towards the betterment of pandakind. and so she did. and do you know what she did?

quacky hugged herself for eight full minutes every day. minute one started with her wrapping her cuddly arms around her cuddly self and she sat there, smiling, until the very tippy-tail of minute eight, in which she gave one last fond squeeze and then let go.

now, you may be thinking, this was very selfish of quacky. all she was doing was hugging herself! how could that benefit all of pandakind? one hug a day? what was that in the face of all panda adversity?

but one eight-minute hug a day made quacky feel better about herself. and because she felt better about herself, she smiled at other people more, and did better work at her pandapage development job, and when she was out with her friends, quacky smiled at them a lot and told them how great they were and how honored she was that they were her friends. and they, in turn, loved her even more than they thought possible.

you might wonder how quacky got so smart in the heart, not just in the head. that is a mystery for another story to solve, someday else. the end.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.