Ned Stilzman called yesterday to thank me for his birthday man thong. As an aside, he informed me of the growing suspicion his five-year-old daughter will become a serial killer. He thinks Jackie enjoys torturing insects and tiny animals and he fears where those sadistic tendencies may lead.
By way of example, he shared his daughter’s most recent disturbing episode involving an attempt to play ping pong against the wall of their house … using “Mr. Hoppy.” Mr. Hoppy wasn’t actually a ping pong ball; rather, he happened to be an unlucky frog Jackie found in their backyard. Unfortunately, the competition did not end well for Mr. Hoppy. Although Ned halted the “game” immediately, by the time he arrived, Mr. Hoppy had in his words already been fully “frogilated.”
I winced at the tale (hating the very thought of harming most living creatures – mosquitoes and flies excepted), and I sympathized with my friend’s concern. But I also told him not to worry, “yet,” advising: “Sure she might turn into a mass murderer, but just as likely she’ll grow out of her sadistic ways.”
More comfortingly, I reminded Ned of my own equally disturbing behavior as a little boy. I’d tortured more than my fair share of insects and small critters, before I thankfully lost interest in such depravities. In fact, coincidentally, one of my last crimes against nature involved a frog. Although my “frogilation” story wasn’t exactly apples to apples, I still thought the tale might benefit Ned.
As I told him, one day at sleep-away camp during the summer of my tenth year, I caught a frog at the lake.
Because campers weren’t permitted to have pets in their bunks, I decided to send it to my brother for safekeeping. I poked a few holes in an envelope and tossed in a couple of dead bugs, knowing the importance of air and nutrients. Then I added the amphibian, along with a note to Frank asking him to take care of the “leperd frog” I’d placed in the envelope.
About a week later, I received a reply from Frank. It said:
Got the frog. Surprised you didn’t include a letter explaining your intent. But not to worry, I figured it out. So, thanks! With a little garlic and butter, it was delicious!
Aghast at the tragedy, I spent the next hour crying hysterically and wailing to one and all: “My brother ate my frog!” A counselor eventually grew concerned enough to place an emergency call to my parents. When my father answered, I sobbingly told him of the atrocity. Dad waited until my story petered out and then assured me: “Richard, your brother did not eat any frog. He got an envelope from you with a letter, but there was nothing else in it. Please, calm down and go play with your friends.”
Much relieved, I concluded that an envious postal worker must have coopted the frog for his own. I hung up the phone, but not before hearing a shout bellowing from the receiver: “Frank!!!!!”