Monday, May 25, 2009

The Amphibian Issue

It's just a frog--I caught a number of them as a kid--but does it have to share dinner with us? Does it have to sit with beady, frog eyes staring at us while we chew mexican casserole and mixed veggies? I cringe inside every time the scaly green legs jump up and slide in oozing stickiness down the glass wall of its cell, while the kids exclaim with excitement and delight. Spitfire does not want said frog more than two centimeters away from her. I do not want said frog more than two centimeters close to me; and therefore, the line is drawn in the sand. The frog survives over night, sitting intimately close to Spitfire on her nightstand while she sleeps, and I catch a giant fly that is buzzing through the house and set it loose in the cage--my thought being that even poor, captive frogs need comfort food. But when Spitfire begins carrying our adopted amphibian around in the palm of her hand, and then generously allows Destructo to join in this stellar activity, I have to give the executive order to Free the Frog. It's just like Free Willy, I suggest--frogs do not thrive while incarcerated, and Mommy does not thrive while her kids handle a possible salmonella contaminated creature. Of course, all this falls on deaf ears, and I am going deaf from listening to the piercing sound of Spitfire wailing about the injustice of it all. I know I rode around completely unbuckled, even lying in the back window of my parent's car on vacations, busily making honking motions to passing truckers--and survived. I spent time scratching dirty bellies of chunky pigs in backyard pens, lived precariously without any contact with hand sanitizer, ate strawberries unwashed, picked straight off the vine. But still. . . I want slimy, warty, dirty frog to take a hike, and there is nothing that can console Spitfire when she hears the decision. Only time, and the arrival of a co-cospirator from across the street finally quiet the shrill sadness. As for me, I am relieved to eat dinner beyond the watchful eyes of frog, and hopeful that most amphibian poachers like him keep a very low profile in our yard.

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