Monday, April 03, 2006

Amphibious Assault

After Sacto Ritch left my new house following a brief visit last fall, he asked me what was up with all the frogs. Apparently, as he and his son were making their way back to the Detroit area, a fierce storm opened up on him and before he knew it, the road was covered by a herd of frogs that appeared to be fleeing the commotion. Now, I would never doubt Ritch’s word but it is not like he (nor I for that matter) is immune to paranoid hallucinations brought on in large part to certain chemical liberties taken with his mental makeup during his libertine youth. This morning though, I discovered that either the area I moved to was prone to unnatural amphibian invasions or my psyche is uncomfortably akin to Sacto Ritch’s, making me prone to the exact same hallucinations.

It started as I was filling up my car on the way to work. I was at a gas station across the street from a wooded depression that fills with water after large rainstorms. Though normally devoid of sound except for that of passing traffic, this morning the wood was full of noise. It was so loud that I could barely hear the noise of cars coming in from the street. At first I thought it was kind of cool. Being a child of an urban environment, it was not something I was very familiar with. Sure, I had heard frogs before in the springtime but never anything on this scale.

As I pulled away and started making my way towards the expressway, I glanced at the ditches on the side of the road and sure enough, spotted a couple of frogs jumping around on the shoulder. I then thought of how spring was just around the corner and grinned as I thought about the reptilian orgy that was probably going to be taking place in the area’s wetlands over the next couple of weeks. When my eyes returned to the road however, I saw that a couple of the critters had strayed into the highway. I swerved to miss them, then saw that there were a few more up ahead, followed by even more further up, and a bit further than that, a virtual swarm of the savage bastards.

Now, seeing one frog is kind of amusing. Seeing five together is kind of cool. Seeing ten together reminds me of dinner in my favorite seafood restaurant. Seeing fifty together fills me with the feeling that I am witnessing some freak wonder of nature. Seeing one hundred together is a little disconcerting. Seeing a thousand together, well, that’s just the fifth friggin’ plague of Egypt and your first reaction is to turn tail and flee lest the four horsemen of the apocalypse swoop down out of the sky to put the smack down on your ass. Unfortunately, there was a long line of cars behind me so throwing the car in reverse was not really an option if I wanted to keep my automotive insurance rates manageable.

All I could do was drive through the poor bastards and try to imagine what expression was on all those hapless frog faces as they caught sight of several hundred pounds of Pontiac Vibe bearing down on them. I tried to ease my conscience by imagining that they were all militant vegan, pint-sized PETA activists, reincarnated into suicidal pond life and sentenced to a lifetime of eating bugs as punishment for denying their rightful place on the planet’s food chain. This only worked for a couple of seconds worth of entertainment though before the carnage beneath my tires started to become depressing. When it was over, I had sent at least fifty fellow vertebrates to frog heaven which, Sacto Ritch pointed out to me once during a particularly deep philosophical conversation, was probably located somewhere near fly hell, an observation worthy of Socrates had he not been too snobbish to contemplate the spirituality of lower life forms.

The massacre seemed such a waste but it got me thinking about the purpose of life. Not so much the purpose of my life, but of the amphibians’. I wondered what it would be like to exist in a state with no higher calling, no mission or purpose. You just hatch, try to avoid becoming an appetizer until you can grow legs and gorge yourself on mosquitoes until you get pureed by a Pontiac while trying to cross the street to get your froggy freak on with some hot mama on the other side. Then I got to wondering just really how far removed we are from the lower species, mainly because I remembered how I almost got myself pulverized in high school because I had not bothered to look both ways before crossing the street on my way to a smokin’ hot date. I’m sure there are probably thousands of other men out there that almost did the same thing. I guess the main difference between us and the frogs was that we didn’t all do it at the exact same time in the exact same place. I would also think that if we had, traffic would most likely have stopped for us, unless we were in New York City or something.

I really would have liked to have stopped for those frogs though, and all morning I wondered how many mosquitoes were spared their rightful and deserved doom on the end of an amphibian’s tongue because I did not want to be late for work. I then tried to think of something the state could do to divert the frogs away from or around main commuter thoroughfares. I had heard of places putting tunnels beneath roadways to give the frogs a safer route to their mating areas but I thought that would probably be a gargantuan waste of money. After all, how would they find the tunnels? Seeing as how I do not hear the amphibian community bragging much about their stellar literacy rate, I can not imagine road signs would be of much use. The only other thing I could think of would be to line the roads with something resembling their natural enemies, such as herons, pike, college students in search of cheap hallucinogens or garlic and butter to scare them away from traffic.

Regardless, something must be done to combat this menace. This migration is a huge risk to the physical, mental and economic health of the community and must be controlled somehow. Now I am not implying that anyone is in danger of being mauled by a horny herd of bull frogs, but I could see how someone could kill themselves after their car skids on a slippery sheen of frog guts and into the path of an oncoming tanker truck. Seeing so many mutilated animals littering the road can not be good for anyone’s emotional well being either and economically speaking, I can not fathom anyone’s boss buying an excuse for being late to work that involves a couple thousand frogs meeting an untimely end at the hands of a set of Firestone All-Weather tires.

God knows mine didn’t.


Blogger Sacto Ritch said...

I'm so glad to haer this JEP. I was seriously beginnng to doubt my sanity. I figured it must be a common occurance since there were so many.
Poor, poor froggies. At least they squish easily and don't have those death throes like squirrel or cats do when struck by death labeled Goodyear. You know the throes, when the doomed mammal takes 5 or 6 steps before collapsing into the next lane of traffic wildly flailing its extremities before the next, and mercifully final splat comes. Just before the closest chinese food joint comes along with tongs to retrieve its latest menu item. You know, the throes.
Well there goes another uplifting and insulting blog entry. I hope on behalf of myself and the band that we passed the audition.


1:28 AM  
Blogger JEP said...

You know Ritch, I was doubting your sanity. Now I'm doubting mine as well.

By the way, the temperature dropped from around 55 to 28 in the 12 hours since that incident, leaving me to wonder how many of those little cretins ended up frozen in mid coitus.

6:35 AM  

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