Patsy Michaels' Oceanfront gift shop is well-stocked with
standard souvenir stuff: towels, rafts, sunscreens, pinwheels. But the
T-shirts hanging by the front door of Capt'n Jake's are a clue that
Michaels is selling something a little different this season. "Rubber
Ducky Condoms, reads one of the shirts. "The fit that won't quit." Rubber
Ducky Condoms, reads another. "The Original AFTER Party Animal." The
slightly leering, thumbs-up cartoon duck on the fronts of those shirts
can also be found on three-pack boxes of prophylactics by Michaels'
cash register-boxes that have been selling as fast as Michaels can put
them out. And she's been putting them out for 3 months. "I sold a gross
the first 2 weeks, says the 42-year-old grandmother. I sold a gross
A DAY over Memorial Day Week-end. It's amazing." And it's real, which
is a question Michaels hears every day about the duck-emblazoned boxes
of individually wrapped, candy-colored condoms. "Everyone asks 'do they
work?' And I say they sure do. "The guys think it's a big hoot. They
just laugh." "And the girls, they say 'I've got to have these to take
back and show Dad what I was doing in Virginia Beach.'" Judging by reports,
from every beach resort between Cape Cod and Daytona, Rubber Ducky is
the sensation of spring, pushing other T-shirts to the back of the shelf.
Radio ads tout the fun-loving Duck with a jingle: "No need for old embarrassment.
Get hip, hip, hip, Rubber Ducky".