I know it’s foolish to believe in marketing, but I thought when we fed those oil-covered ducklings a full bottle of dish soap they’d at least walk away clean and happily quacking like they do in the commercial. Instead they sorta just slumped over and became unresponsive.

I thought maybe they were just woozy from swimming through oil and drinking dish soap immediately after because even ducks have to wait thirty minutes in between each activity, right? So we let them rest and for whatever reason, they never woke back up again. I just wish we found them sooner before the oil killed them.

There’s not enough time to gather all the oil-soaked ducks safely into a boat and immediately go to work administering treatment with a funnel and dish soap bottle when these oil spills cause major devastation to our wildlife reserves within seconds of an industrial disaster. It’s one of mankind’s most notable conundrums that despite all of our oil-sourcing pursuits we still can’t fuel a boat to travel fast enough to rescue animals during an oil spill.

I will say they were definitely still alive when we found them and were basically in good spirits despite the circumstances up until the point where we started force-feeding them dish soap. It does worry me a little that we might’ve done something wrong. Like every time I tried to treat one, it would start freaking out and flapping its wings trying to fly away.

One of the greatest injustices in the world is that animals can’t understand English otherwise I would’ve told them, “Calm down, fellow creature. We’re here to help. Now if you could just hold still while I squeeze this entire bottle of soap down your throat, you’ll be feeling better in no time, okay? Bottoms up!”

I can rest easy at night knowing we followed all the steps. First, we went to the store and bought some Dawn brand dish soap—way more expensive than the store brand by the way. But in an effort to not cut corners, I paid the man at the counter what I owed and told him it was going toward a good cause. He asked what I meant and I said we were going to feed the oil-covered wildlife today if he’d like to help. He stopped us and said, “Don’t you mean cleaning?” and I explained that Dawn isn’t just a household cleaning product anymore, it’s also the most effective beverage you could give to a suffering animal.

That’s when, out of nowhere, he grabbed our cart and tried to wrestle it away from us. Clearly, the man grew up building altars to oil companies and praying five times a day facing toward the Dakota Access Pipeline. Luckily another sales associate intervened to drag him away, apologizing profusely. Some people!

Next, we arrived at the disaster site and tried our damndest to help. Quickly we realized time was running out as most of the animals were dying in our arms right after feeding them our medicine. We knew we couldn’t possibly help all the animals in time so we dumped our remaining bottles of soap directly into the water—that way even the fish could inhale large quantities of soap through their gills to flush the crude oil out of their systems. Moments after we emptied the last bottle, we watched as thousands of fish from the depths of the water floated to the surface.

We were seconds too late.

Next time, praying there is no next time, I guess we should use two, maybe three bottles per animal instead of one? Or maybe after you’re done feeding them you’re supposed to wring them out like a wet towel? I don’t know, maybe there’s a possibility that methylisothiazolinone is not as “tough on grease yet gentle” as they say? I’d argue it’s tougher on geese.

I should’ve known better than to watch too much television and get these fantasies in my head that I too could one day feed dawn dish soap to oil-covered marine life and have the whole thing go off with no hitches. For every happy duckling that’s fed soap and filmed for the commercial, there’s probably about 300 of his brothers off-screen in a black and yellow pile.

This whole day reminds me of this thing I saw once where people who purposely drink colloidal silver have a strange reaction that causes their skin turn blue. I guess today we discovered if you drink blue dish soap your skin turns gray and you die.

I will say, however, that the soap was very helpful in getting the animal blood out of my clothing and cleaning the dirty dishes after our roast duck dinner. It was a great meal but the cilantro garnish gave it a kinda soapy flavor.