Saturday, August 24, 2013


It's nothing personal, but I'm not fond of frogs. I think they're kind of ugly, although I try not to judge. For all I know, they think the same about me. Not that it matters, since we usually don't come into contact--what with me enjoying the comfort of my couch and them enjoying the comfort of wherever they watch "Dr. Who." But all that changed yesterday...

First, I should explain that I love to swim, and by "swim" I mean splash around in my pool. Actually, I do much more than that but, if you saw me, you'd think I was just splashing around. Here's how it goes. Before I get in the pool, there is a crazy chatterbox in my head pitching fastballs into my brain, something like this:

How did it get to be so late? What can I make for dinner? Are there leftovers? I need to order meds for the dog. Got to remember to buy stamps, milk, and… what was the third thing? I can't believe I forgot the third thing! I am so losing it…

But, as soon as I wade into the pool, Ms. Chatterbox forgets all that and says, "Ahhh, this is nice!" And, if I'm lucky, I won't hear from her for the rest of the day. I then pick up the pool net and start circling the perimeter, scooping up leaves and bugs (I can't risk getting a bug in my mouth. I'm sure you understand) while immersing myself oh-so-gradually. Once the pool is bug-free, I completely submerge and practice for my pretend audition with "Cirque du Soleil," underwater edition. I proceed to roll and tumble, pirouette and twirl--I just couldn't be more graceful. Of course, I can't see myself, so that helps.

After practicing my routine, I try to see how long I can swim on the bottom of the pool while scuttling like a crab. I imagine I look just like the blue crabs that sometimes find their way into our pool. And sometimes I just free-float, swaying like a sea anemone, giving up control of my limbs. Control is overrated anyway. 

Yesterday was different though. As I was netting up the debris, I caught a glimpse of something moving. A tiny black frog, no bigger than a nickel, was trying to scale the slick tile wall of the pool and make his escape. I could see that it just wasn't happening for him. He was so cute and determined, I decided to help, offering him a lift on my index finger to ferry him out. But he had a different idea. Grasping my finger with all his puny strength, he decided he liked it there and no amount of coaxing could convince him otherwise. I was touched. I couldn't help but smile as my little friend and I cleaned the pool together, basking in the afternoon sun. I lazily tried to remember anything I could about frogs and came up with one thing: they love to eat mosquitoes.  I thought about how my friend's mother had contracted West Nile Virus and our dog had contracted heart worms, even while taking preventative meds; both of those were mosquito-borne diseases. 

I suddenly realized that by saving my little frog's life, I could be saving a person's life! I was struck by how far-reaching one small act of kindness could be. 

"I know you're nervous," I said, gently nudging him, "but it's time for you to go. You have a big job. You have to save the world!" He finally understood how important he was and reluctantly hopped away.

I've changed my mind about frogs, of course, how could I not? But I still won't be inviting them to watch "Dr. Who" with me on my couch.

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