A Tale of Three Frogs

Three times I’ve had a frog.

And three times it has gone wrong.

* * *

bowl

1. Peeve

I received my first frog as a gift in college. He arrived along with a little goldfish in a bowl of water with some pink rocks at the bottom. I named him Peeve and the fish Free Refills. My pet Peeve and Free Refills got along splendidly and had many joyous months of swimming and… swimming.

But unbeknownst to me, Peeve was plagued by demons. One afternoon I came back from class and found he had jumped out of his bowl. There he was, frying on the radiator like the lunch special on a hibachi. It was gruesome. Do you know how hard it is to scrape fried frog off a hot surface if you haven’t used cooking oil first?

(Free Refills lived a little longer but then dropped dead for no apparent reason while I was getting my tonsils out over spring break, which is another story for another time.)

Lesson Learned: Frogs have a flair for drama in death. (This lesson would prepare me well for the future. See story #2.)

* * *

frog skeleton

2. Snowflake

A few years ago, my children were given a pair of water frogs. My kids, at the time, were 7 and 4. So let’s be real: those frogs were my responsibility.

It was clear from the start that Snowflake had troubles. While his cube-mate, Parcheesi, torpedoed from one side of the tank to the other, Snowflake just flapped around in languid circles. Sometimes he’d jam his head into the rocks at the bottom, as if he might bury himself. At feeding time, Parcheesi would gulp down his frog kibbles, but Snowflake would only pretend-eat, like Cookie Monster, gumming his food — mah-mah-mah — but letting it all fall out of his mouth. Every time.

Snowflake did not respond to my pep talks in which I told him that he was beautiful just the way he was and that everyone needs a healthy breakfast and that depriving himself of food was the wrong way to get a sense of control over his life. Slowly, he wasted away from his eating disorder until he looked like nothing more than an anatomical sketch of a frog on a scrap of wax paper, drifting through the water. It took months. MONTHS OF FROG STARVATION. One day, we found his emaciated little body tangled up in his bamboo tree, one leg wrapped around his own neck in a final act of acrobatic defiance. Holy hotdogs, Snowflake, I thought, that’s pretty fucked up.

Lesson Learned: As my son told his wide-eyed little sister – “See? That’s what’ll happen to you if you don’t eat your dinner.”

* * *

godlight

3. Parcheesi

But wait. There’s more.

For nearly two years after Snowflake perished, Parcheesi thrived. But frogs don’t live forever, and Parcheesi got old in frog-years. He started to slow down, eat less, and sleep more. It became harder and harder to wake him up for breakfast.

One day last week, we came downstairs to find that Parcheesi had passed in the night. We shook the tank to be sure: nope, no movement. I poked him with a fork: yep, dead. So I spooned up his rigid, lifeless little body, and we all said some somber words and reflected on his time with us. Just before we took him outside to bury him under the same maple tree where Snowflake lies, the kids decided to throw a few frog kibbles on him, since he always liked those so much.

And that’s when he woke up and ate the frog kibbles.

Everyone screamed.

Several days have passed, and Parcheesi The Miracle Frog continues to pull this stunt every morning, faking his own death and then popping back up like a goddamn frog zombie. Frankly, I’ve had it with the Frog Resurrection act. It’s not funny anymore. (I mean, come on. Even Jesus only did this party trick once.) One of these days, I’m going to call that frog’s bluff, and he’s going to find himself under a tree in the front yard.

Lesson Learned: A great way to lose your kids’ trust forever is to let them watch you almost bury their pet alive.

And all this is why I will never have another frog.

The End

* * *

In other news…

freshly pressedBig thanks to the people at WordPress for featuring this site on the homepage again this week. I really appreciate it. Welcome to new visitors who came over from Freshly Pressed.

 

 

loop

 

Here’s a little essay I wrote for Loop about horses, drugs, and hallucinations: Horse Tranquilizers

40 comments

  1. I’m a new follower from the Freshly Pressed gang, and this post just confirmed that clicking your “follow” button was the best decision I made yesterday – except for that extra hit to my snooze alarm; that worked out awesome too.

    So you’re stuck with me because how could I have anything but bloggy love for someone who writes a post with the tags: Cookie Monster, Frog, Humor, Jesus, and Spring Break?

  2. You know how everybody has that one thing that they hate or are scared of? For me, its frogs. But I liked your tale anyhow. I just don’t know how you consider frogs as pets!

  3. oh man, you are talking my talk. We had a Lazarus frog, too (bloat got him in the end…a nasty, nasty way to go, if you ask me) and we also have a solo frog (Hopper) currently residing on our breakfast table. He’s (she’s?) been flying solo in the cube for 1 year and 10 months. The madness…Hopper was also a cannibal. Good times. Yours for a mere $24.99.
    Loved this, ML!

  4. This definitely resonated with me. In college I had two fish, Spanky and Delilah. Over the course of the semester, Spanky thrived, Delilah died, and then one day, I *thought* Spanky was dead (presumably of a broken heart). He had been doing this trick where he sort of floated near the top of the tank, but then would immediately perk up if i gently tapped the glass. Well, one day his act was a little too convincing, and I scooped him, gave him the last rites and plopped him in the toilet…only to have him swim happily around the bowl as soon as he hit the water. Awkwaaaaaard.

  5. I don’t know what to say…..I’m just glad I don’t have frogs as pets! LOL!
    Great post and I ditto the commenter who said she made a good decision following your blog! 😀

    Hey…just as an after thought. at least you now can be assured that it wasn’t frogs who didn’t get along with you! hehe

  6. Holy Frog Legs Batman!

    I LOVE the name for you pet Peeve! How very clever of you! My daughter saved one of her carnival goldfish. He was kinda floating on his side, she researched and thought he might have “air bladder”? or something like that and the cure was peas. She dug frozen peas out of the mixed veggie bag and fed them to him. It worked!

    As for the name thing, have you heard of the group “Bare Naked Ladies”? I am not sure if this is a fact but an old boyfriend (who introduced me to the group) said in their early days they used to play with a group called “Free Beer”. They drew huge crowds at the bars they played at… Tonite only! Free Beer and Bare Naked Ladies! (check out their song ‘If I had a million dollars’)

    Now I must read about horse tranquilizer, and your interview with Allie!

    Thanks for all the brightness you add to my day! 🙂

    • OMG!! The horse tranquilizer! Another LOL (and I never use that acronym!)

      I LOVE YOU! I also love Allie, her book is on my Christmas wish list, and since the list isn’t very long, I am pretty darn positive I will get it.

      You are perfect. 🙂

  7. I literally laughed until I cried! I can’t even remember the last time I did that.

    Brings back memories of my dearly departed frog “Crunchy”. (Monte Python reference, for you old school nerds.)

  8. Ohhh my Lord…. after the miserable day I’ve had today?… I’ve never laughed this hard in… a long time! I was doing research for a frog pendant I actually made and I came across your blog post. Thank you for this much needed trip down memory lane with my own kids!

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