• RoMa Johnson

My Brother Has Frogs

My brother has frogs. In his house in the California desert. In, not at. First one, then a couple, now in every room. Frogs on the kitchen table, frogs hopping to the top of the toaster oven, frogs hiding behind papers on the desk, frogs on the windowsill. I went to bed the other night, he says, and there was a frog on my pillow. Here in Princeton we have experts to hand on any and all subjects, so we sent a picture of one of the frogs to an eminent frogologist, who responded that this was a Pacific Choral frog. Aha! Good to know. I tell my brother and he says the frogs are silent. Maybe they should un-mute themselves, I quip, but we are all so sick and tired of Zoom that the joke falls flat..

As do all the other apocalyptic jokes that come to mind: Plagues of Egypt, weren’t there frogs? Book of Revelation, hmmmm, I don’t remember frogs specifically, but we have all the horses. Better than that, even, we’ve added reality TV on steroids and hallucinogens: fear mongering, panic profiteering, political mayhem, social alienation—a stew served daily, nightly, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The pundits come to the meal looking haggard and bored, their home-done makeup slipping, their outfits less than crisp.

Frogs. I want to offer the thought that the frogs are funny, really. Maybe we are being shown that something funny could happen in the middle of all this world-ending drama.

Maybe a nightly program on FrogTV, featuring Charles Fortean anomalies. (He was into frogs, big time. Loved to document episodes of frogs falling from the sky.) Funny weirdnesses. Make us laugh, before we forget how to. Un-mute our giggles. Let us see a frog hopping across Rachel Maddow’s desk, interrupting one of her doomsday soliloquys. Let us see a frog peering out from Kellyanne Conway’s cleavage. What if a frog appeared in the president’s comb-overdone during the daily briefing, causing Dr. Faucci to burst into hysterics behind the podium while an eek-shrieking Dr. Birx climbs on a chair and lifts her skirts?

Time to be silly, folks.

Let the frogs win.

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