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Waters is adamant that Gray Duck is a better game. She likes that it requires imagination to think up the different non-gray colors, and there’s more strategy involved. For instance, the person who is “it” often will stress the first two letters — “Grrrrrr” — keeping an opponent off guard as to whether they are about to say the harmless “green duck” or the dreaded “gray duck.”
Heaney, who now lives in New York City, said her article grew out of the quizzical reactions she gets from her East Coast neighbors when she mentions Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.
“This is my favorite curtain to draw back for non-Minnesotan people,” she said. “Many of them haven’t ever heard of Duck, Duck, Gray Duck and are absolutely incredulous and outraged that that’s how Minnesota plays it.”
Because of that reaction, she wasn’t surprised that her article hit an Internet nerve.
“It always gets a rise out of people, every time it’s ever come up,” she said. “I figured my platform at BuzzFeed could be used for widespread education in this way. I think that’s my duty as a Minnesotan living in New York.”
But she doesn’t have high hopes that the rest of the world will come to see things in the proper light.
“It would be cool if more people started playing the game correctly because of my article, or at least admit their version is inferior,” she said. “But I bet things will mostly stay the same. And that’s OK. We don’t need to convert people to know we’re right.”
Jeff Strickler • 612-673-7392