A Frog's Progress

A Frog’s Progress

I begin the long trek to the basement, thinking I’ll sleep on the cold futon in the small room at the base of the stairs…a futon from the past that smelled like possibility and my parents’ garage; the nothing-left-to-lose freedom Joplin sang of.

Passing through the kitchen I see the frog.

It had been days since the tadpole changed to a frog and it still isn’t eating the crickets. I figured the frog was starving and the crickets were, too. If the frog dies first will the crickets eat the frog?

I catch a slow housefly. I don’t want to touch it, but it’s my job. I cup it against the window and put it in the terrarium.

I don’t see the frog now; he’s hiding. I pull the plastic cave and he jumps and lands in the water at the bottom.

He’s having trouble getting out of the puddle.

Can frogs breathe under water? Yes, they are amphibious. That’s the whole point of the word amphibian, I think. Maybe only tadpoles are amphibians, and frogs are reptiles and not all reptiles are amphibians. Or are they? Maybe I’m thinking of invertebrates.

Later the frog is belly up in the water. I scoop him out. Poke. Prod.

Frog’s dead.

Should I flush him?

My wife: “I guess so.”

I almost do, but instead take him outside to let a bird eat him. I put him on the sidewalk and go back inside.

Later I jog while listening to a new band that sounds like the Beatles.

I tried to sound like the Beatles once. No one ever said I did, though. Once someone said they could tell I was trying to sound like the Beatles, but that’s not the same thing.

When I stopped doing music I started doing advertising. My music is behind me. I catch flies for my family, so to speak, and no, I don’t want to touch them (the flies) but it’s my job (advertising).

So I’m running around the block. Back home I see my pregnant wife holding something in her hand. She looks mad.

Her: “Where did you leave that frog?”

Me: “On the sidewalk.”

Her: “I thought you flushed him. You said he was dead.”

She has an eye for birds. She had seen a suspicious robin, went out to investigate, and found the frog. The little robin was tugging on the frog and my wife shoed the bird away.

The frog was in her hand. His muscle tone had returned. He was alive.

Me: “Good thing I didn’t flush him.”

Her: “Yeah.”

Me: “He was dead.”

Her: “No, he wasn’t. He was just scared.”

I jogged off and felt cold acid rain sprinkling over a hot skillet about two inches south of my naso-pharynx – a reverse-orgasm inner sob that felt good and lasted three seconds.

The end.

I kept running. Listening to the Beatley band thinking this thing about my big pregnant beautiful wife saving this frog might make a good story. It’s times like this I wish I knew how to write.

But I can type so maybe I can tell the story of the frog. Maybe I could type a story that people will like. Writers get to sleep late. And when they keep quiet at a party, people think they’re thinking about something cool.

The frog story seems good…like there might be symbolism. And it made me cry sort of, so maybe it will make someone else cry, too.

Maybe this was the runner’s high talking, but I told myself I’d get back home and write it all down about the frog. But I got back and my wife went into labor and we had to rush to the hospital.

By the time I actually got back…most of the stuff I was thinking about when I was running lost its power.

But I typed it and there it was on the page. It was this thing you’re reading now and I don’t know if you’re bored reading it but I’m 65% sure you’re bored on some level. The writing is not that good. Not that I’d know.

Redux: I almost flushed him. And then a bird almost ate him. But the frog is still alive thanks to my wife, the Princess. Though alive, he is far from free. I run circles and think of ideas that don’t get born. Until they do. We all try to sound like the Beatles. Some of us succeed. A new baby has yet again entered the world. The first cricket has been eaten.

Thanks Gamer. Thanks for the frog, your wife, and your story.

About 10 years ago, a blistering hot summer day, and my back door open desperately sucking air through a fan to give me the illusion that I wasn’t going to die from the heat, a little cry above the noise of the fan.

A little black kitten, smaller than the palm of my hand, from out of the fall-down sheds behing my shop had crawled in, past the fan and sat there crying, as desperate as I for some relief.

I could see that this tiny spark of life would best find relief in death, but I just couldn’t.

I called my wife and asked her to come get the kitten and get it to a vet to see if it could be saved. When she arrived and looked at the kitten, she looked at me, didn’t say anything, carefully wrapped the kitten in an old towel I had laying around, and left.

She called an hour later to let me know that the vet had cleaned up the kitten, given it as much care as possible, and supplied us with all the needed medications and food supplements she could. She also said that the kitten wouldn’t live through the weekend.

For two weeks we fed the kitten with an eye dropper until she developed enough strength to eat on her own. A year later she had grown to about the size of a 3 or 4 month old kitten. She’s been that size since.

Her name is “Amanda”, after Amanda Blake - Miss Kitty, in the old TV series ‘Gunsmoke’. Not much personality, has respiratory problems never cured, not much of a cat, really. But she is that tiny spark of life that we sometimes are allowed to be part of, that spark that, without us, would not be.

Life is fragile, and sometimes delicate as well. So frog or cat, we preserve that spark as best we can when life present’s us the serendipitous opportunity.

Keep catching those flies and crickets…


Wow, thanks JT. My story the frog was an intentional metaphor for my own growth, i.e. sometimes you think you’re done but then you have a renaissance waiting around the corner. Metaphors ABOUND. But your story can be read that way, too. In fact, for late bloomers who get the autodidactic intellectual nourishment they need; the companionship of like-minded community, they may alas only grow to a dwarfed (and disarmingly cute) version of their true potential, but at least they’re not dead. Thanks for saving the cat. And thank you all for saving me.

Hi Gamer,

I saw your metaphor, and mine wasn’t any different. When we save that spark of life, do we not save our own? When we allow the death of any person, an animal, we die a little bit ourselves.

To know our connection and remember…


Great stuff. Linking it back to references to a hibernating frog, and the ol’ myth of the princess kissing a frog (sounds like you got a keeper, and congratulations on your tadpole…)… and the well-known fear of letting yourself out

Robins are people, too. shrugs

you’re so full of crap… and I mean that in the best possible way. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m sorry… my last reply was kinda dumb… but… I just have to ask… that Beatlesy band… was it Jet? I keep hearing this song and it reminds me of the Beatles… I don’t know if the rest of their music is Beatlesy… but I love this song…

Jet / Look What You’ve Done

Take my photo off the wall
If it just won’t sing for you
'Cause all that’s left has gone away
And there’s nothing there for you to prove

Oh, look what you’ve done
You’ve made a fool of everyone
Oh well, it seems likes such fun
Until you lose what you had won

Give me back my point of view
'Cause I just can’t think for you
I can hardly hear you say
What should I do, well you choose

Oh, look what you’ve done
You’ve made a fool of everyone
Oh well, it seems likes such fun
Until you lose what you had won

Oh, look what you’ve done
You’ve made a fool of everyone
A fool of everyone
A fool of everyone

Take my photo off the wall
If it just won’t sing for you
'Cause all that’s left has gone away
And there’s nothing there for you to do

Oh, look what you’ve done
You’ve made a fool of everyone
Oh well, it seems likes such fun
Until you lose what you had won

Oh, look what you’ve done
You’ve made a fool of everyone
A fool of everyone
A fool of everyone

JT, I’m not sure i had any of that sentiment in mind when i wrote this. saving animals is nice and all, but i didn’t save a piece of me cause i saved the animal, a discovered the way in which i was saved, by way of metaphor.

  1. the frog was brought into the world for dubious reasons.
  2. its caretaker was reluctant.
  3. Frog was scared
  4. it seemed limp and lifeless
  5. it was mistaken to be dead (spiritually dead in my case)
  6. it was saved by luck
  7. it was saved by my wife
  8. it is now alive, but not free

Lesson: when you think you are dead you might actually not be. So don’t flush yourself. Better to sit on the path in service of others (be eaten by birds) because you might be found. Saving animals gives you warm fuzzies but this was a different thing I think. Fuck kitties. They could all die for all I care. They’re just dumb animals.

All the same things could be said about me. :wink:

The Beatles band was supposed to be the Redwalls. I like that Jet song. I am not fullof shit because the whole piece was fiction. The character saying he can’t write was not intended to be me (although it was loosely based.) I know I can write okay. Especially when I try not.

Hi Gamer,

I know my story had a slightly different twist, but would it make more sense if I said I wasn’t doing it for the kitten, I was doing it for myself?
Sometimes we feel dead inside and for whatever reason, we are given a chance to be re-born through another being. A frog, a cat, a new-born baby… That first smile you see in your new-born’s morning. No particular cause, no agenda, no conditions, just a smile. Any questions about why you are here?

If this is getting too smarmy, just pretend you didn’t see it. After all, we’re men! :wink:


Everything you say I agree with. But I am not here to see my newborn smile. I am here for that glorious moment when he shuts the fuck up and goes to sleep for five minutes so I can run to the computer and toy with Dunamis. God if he isn’t the Orson to my Mork.

Ah yes, Mr. M&M. Tough outer shell, gooey chocolate inside… :smiley:


Hallelujah and Amen Brother Gamer! I am right there with you.

Whenever I try to write it always turns out to be an incomprehensible mass. The more I try to explain the worse I do. But there are days, hell, there are moments when I just write. When I just don’t care what is going to happen. When you forget all about what you are doing or why you are doing it. When all effort and motivation disappears and you just write. God, if that ain’t a touch of heaven, then I don’t know what is. The hell of it, is the trick of getting to that point. When you can drop the secret pretensions you hold even when nobody else is looking. It really is disappearing in the best sense. Its like standing back and watching an event happen. Its that kind of elusive detachment you get in moments of real tragedy. It is a sort of separation from the everyday way of experiencing life that pushes you outside of your normal sense of space. An irresistible expansion at first terrifying and then wonderful if you yeild to it. Coming unglued from your skin and realizing just how small and meaningless your ordinary life really is. But that does not matter because you are not the “you” that you always thought you were. And your thinking is light because there is no flesh to hold it down. Your old system of values just disappears entirely because there is nothing for it to exist in here.

But one thought or another or the demands of the next moment call you out of that expansion, back into your small shell little turtle. You have worlds to carry. Or the sadness calls you back. That irresistible sadness. That all too human brosia that is sweet, sweet death.

Jesus JT. It’s not so clear cut. The cloying goo is mixed in with the shards of glass and nails, or are they twigs and stones from a bygone era of my unicellular past when the world was my envelope and I the love letter. There is a bit of the frog in me, a bit of the wild reptilian brain, and that is no pose. You’re clearly softer and sweeter than I.

And Xanderman taking one throwaway comment and writing a rosary about it. Yes, when I try I suck. When I don’t try I’m good. But truth is the opposite. When I’m good it’s because I’m trying to say something real or urgent or fight something real that’s happening. When I’m bad I’m not trying to do much except write. So the idea of trying is elusive. Trying is not the enemy. Sometimes, though, trying to try can be a problem.

ok. no offense intended.

It is always confusing for me when reading works of metaphor to figure out which aspects are fiction and which are non. I have this strange urge to copy/paste each line and give my interpretation, but I resist.

I say many ungraceful things, it is like tripping up the steps in front of the whole phys-ed class in junior high.

Good thing is, I don’t really care if they point and laugh anymore, or consider me an ungraceful person.

It’s the face in the crowd who doesn’t give a fuck if I’m graceful or not – knows for a fact that I doubt myself (whether or not I play it off with an air of confidence), and shows me that it doesn’t fucking matter – those are the eyes that matter.

But, enough about me… carry on…

Gamer, I see that, hard and soft. Occasionally at the same time. We are multi-dimensional, at least part of the time.

Soft and sweet? My close friends would laugh their asses off on that one. I’ve been described as ‘like rubbing up against 60 grit sandpaper’.

We all have our ‘ways’. It’s having the courage to put all of that out there that is character. Tougher than owl shit? When it’s needed. Softer than thistle down? I hope so. Honest enough to be vulnerable? That’s the bitch. Courage to be what we are, without hiding from ourselves, the hardest of all.

What is good writing? I really don’t know, I haven’t managed any of that yet. I supect that it involves letting the mind take a vacation and writing from the heart. I think I’ve gotten close on a couple of occasions, but I’ve always found something I didn’t like, tinkered with it, and eventually hated the whole thing. I’ve offered to pay the muse, but she’s pretty selective, and apparently I don’t pass muster.


Well, we have granted you audience and that’s something. I’ve struggled through many books in my life…many have been an exercise in eye movement, few have wrapped around my heart like the dreaded ILP post…a brave, new form of expression that must be the seed to something big, something that will unite us more and humanize us as we creep into the vortex of the tech future. Funny how tech humanizes. Books all tell one story: the tale of an intrepid would-be writer that made it so far that some publisher put this chunk of wood in my hands with a glossy jacket and fermaldihyde smell. That story sometimes gets in the way of the other lesser one presented by the author. Here you are free to bowl me over with a tremendous poise and balance, good will and artistry. The breath of your soul minus the editing and posturing. I kid you not, JT, when I say that we have arrived and resemble the dialogue of Gabrielle and Michael debating God’s plan. A spontaneous, omniscient banter of angels, because we have the ability to time warp our replies and make them omniscient and arrow straight to the heart of our intentions. DO NOT TRY HERE. EVER.
These posts are the very carvings of angels and they get better every day.

A friend of mine call’s this the internet daily journal. The on-going diary of thoughts and emotions as we stumble forward through our sunny days and darkest nights. I think she’s right.

People are here for all sorts of reasons, but a handful have the courage to be vulnerable and real in their expressions. Wonderful, isn’t it? There is something about the limitations of only having words and language to share. It allows both outrageous superficiality and glimpses of our deepest heart. All it takes is the courage to press enter.

You’re right. The most touching emotionally riveting things I have read here I’ve never seen in any book. The transparency of this technology is beyond anything I’ve ever encountered and I’m grateful for the opportunity.


Hello again,

I’ve been gone for quite a while, but I couldn’t help being touched by your stories as well as your comment, tentative, about this phenomenon of strangers talking. I have been somewhat outrageous here myself; I have been personal; I have also made a very good friend, and because of it I have been able to see myself with new eyes and proceed with my life in a more meaningful fashion. I know that there are many reasons for those writing, but I have seen the value of it for the lonely, those filled with personal angst or in need to be creative through their humor or their poetry. I, too, feel grateful for the opportunity. Now, if I could just erase a few months of frivilous behavior here, than life would be perfect. But life isn’t perfect, is it? And so it goes.

I hope you are all having a nice summer.