The Day I Blogged About Seeing a Frog

That day is today.

The frog, however, was three weeks ago.  That’s how impacting it was.  That’s how strongly it weighs on my mind.  The frog came.  The frog went.  But the memory – alas! – the consequence of said frog remains deep within me.

Allow me to recall what happened: it was late in the evening and I was carrying my laundry across the grassy yard to the laundry room in my apartment complex.  That’s when I saw it, hopping carelessly across the pathway in front of me.

“Holy shit!  A frog!”

I set down my laundry and ran over to it.  My God!  Golly gee!  A frog!  I wanted to turn and shout, Guys!  Come look!  A frog!  but no one was around.  I followed this frog to the porch of a neighbor.  I was about to knock on their door to tell them they had a frog on their porch, but it was after midnight. Then the frog disappeared.  Wow.  A frog.  A real, live frog.  Holy shit.

Some of you may think this is a wee overreaction, but let me ask you, Readers, especially those of you in the Golden State: When was the last time you saw a frog?  No, I don’t mean one of those piss ant pygmy frogs the size of a pebble you see by the sloughs.  This frog was the size of my palm.  Something you only see in cartoons or fairy tales.  My reaction would’ve been completely appropriate in Los Angeles, where frogs are a mythical creature as common as, say, phoenixes or unicorns.

…which led me to a question: why are we (west of the Rockies) so aware (from the onset of our development) of creatures like frogs when they essentially don’t exist to us?

And then it hit me: IIIIII’m dreaming of a whiiiiiiiite Christmaaaas…. just like the ooooones I uuuused to knoooooooww…..

What I mean is, since when do we in the West have any connection whatsoever to the values and cultural stimuli implanted in us through language?  We spend all of Christmas watching movies with snowy settings and listening to carols and jingles that talk of sleighs and snowmen, and yet, when we step outside our doors into reality, how do we accept any of it?  The last time San Francisco had a white Christmas was 1856.  To put that into perspective, people still owned slaves then.  Germany had never existed.  Revolutionary War veterans were still dying off.

And yet, our songs and stories that pass words and values through the generations as memes refer to things like snow and frogs and meadows…

“Oh, come on Dr. Quack, we all know meadows can only be found in myths and dreams.”

My Reader, do not be fooled!  Meadows do exist!  I assure you!  You can even find them in California if you look hard enough!

But my point is this: we live in a world in which our language alienates us from the values of our reality (or vise versa).  Our cultural values (tied to language) aren’t applicable to our actual existence.  We know of frogs, we know of snow, we all know of foxes, toads, April Showers, May Flowers, elms, elk, maples, fireflies…

Does this disconnect mean anything?  Are we being forced into a micro-value system with which we can’t actually relate?

And so today, I speak of the frog as well as my reaction to the frog, because if my reaction is any indication, it shows that an existence void of its language-values results in complete nutcases like me.

P.S. – irrelevant aside: perhaps this also applies to our relationship with history?  How can we, in the west, feel anything towards our country if we have never seen or experienced the places and symbols in our country’s mythology?  Is there a detachment of national sentiment between those who have never been to Gettysburg or Philadelphia and those who have?  Do people on the East feel closer to whatever it means to be American because they wake up every morning with American history outside their windows?

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About Doctor Quack

Just another bonehead with an internet connection.
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3 Responses to The Day I Blogged About Seeing a Frog

  1. becky says:

    First of all, on your list of “never seen these”, the only one I’ve never seen is a firefly. Yes, I’ve seen all of the others. Really. (Okay, not all in California, but still!) Second, I do believe those on the East Coast have a greater appreciation of American history because they DO get up and see the places of our nation’s origin on a regular basis. I think it is sad that we here in California (or “Cali” as you so hate) are like the obnoxious teenagers in any family. We’re rebellious and unappreciative of that which our “parents” have experienced and relayed to us. What can be done? No idea. I suppose, like teenagers, California will just grow up someday and start to feel a part of the geriatric East Coast. Maybe then we’ll have more appreciation for our forefathers, and a better understanding of what made us a great nation. (Yes, I think we still have the potential to be a great nation.) And as for the frog? I would have been equally as excited! I STILL get excited when I see things like that! Dragonflies — ooooh! Lizards — awesome! Snakes — whoa! Cool! It’s no small wonder that you are my son …. Now when you decide you like kitties in addition to dogs, then you’ll really get it!

  2. Kat says:

    There’s a disconnect out West? Us East Coasters kind of take for granted all those things you mentioned…and no, East Coast people don’t necessarily feel more American. It depends on a lot of things, how you were raised, whether you’ve actually taken the time to go visit these historical places or not, if you actually care about history, etc. I’ve been to some historical places myself, and they definitely change your perspective. To see the battle lines, and know that where you stand was once soaked with blood…it makes the battles more real than history books do. But again, it depends on who you are. You could walk the battlefield with apathetic boredom and miss all the sober reverence that lurks there. So while there are people here who have a deeper understanding of what it means to be “American,” there are also those who couldn’t care less and haven’t got the slightest idea.

    • Doctor Quack says:

      I suppose that’s true. I overestimate people’s ability to care about the history of their immediate land. I’m sure the majority of the East Coast feels just as much as a disconnect as the West Coast.

      I will have to say though, when 9/11 happened (I lived in California), everyone I knew from California was shocked and horrified, but no one was crushed. However, the one New Yorker I know still cries about it, possibly to this day. If it’s your home, it means so much more. If Gettysburg were in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would feel exponentially more connected to American history.

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