Suggested Audio Jukebox:
 Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus “We All Stand Together”
 Toby Keith “Made in America”
It’s a frog’s life. Folk seem to think that being an amphibian is a walk in the park but I am living proof that it’s no picnic being so low down in the pecking order. Ever since The Great Frogger Massacre of 1981 I have been embroiled in a lengthy court battle with Hasbro after losing my cousin Fergus and niece Felicity to an eighteen wheeler after a routine hop turned awry. It’s alright for Kermit; he pulls in six zeros a year from merchandising alone and gets to shack up with Miss Piggy at the end of a hard day at work where minnows like me just end up alone each night, desperately bored and without a companion to bounce my ideas from.
I’m no slouch; not that anyone gives two hoots. It’s rare that you will find me without my head in a book as I believe that we’re always learning and the day we cease is the day we die. I also enjoy nothing more than taking in a good movie and I’m especially fond of Dennis Hopper. People can be so ignorant; they assume that a guy like me just sits on a lily pad day after day, searching for flies to catch, and this couldn’t be farther from accurate. On an average day I have travelled into town for groceries before most folk are even awake. Of course, since Hasbro put additional danger into crossing the freeway and given the fact that I am never likely to see that growth spurt, suburbia has become something of a nightmare to traverse, thus I bought myself a shiny orange moped for any trips into town. Here; I’ll show you.
Isn’t she a beauty? 100 miles to the gallon and never once has she not started in the morning. Admittedly she does struggle a little on steep inclines and I have been pulled over three times in the last month for driving too slow but there is no way I’m joining the rat race every morning. You’ve got to think smart when you are such an expendable breed; since the fifties almost one-third of my species have been wiped out and that’s a most disconcerting statistic. I’m friends with both the hare and the tortoise and find the hare exasperating if I’m honest. He always seems in a rush, no quality of life, where the tortoise just sits about eating lettuce all day, thus receiving his five-a-day where the hare ends up gassy from soda.
I’m more of a banana man myself. Were you aware that bananas can reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6? Well you do now. My body is a temple and whatever fuel I put into it each day informs my energy levels as I reach the end of my lengthy daily chores. It never ends and there’s always something else to do so it can be hard fitting in the things I like to do but I make sure I eat a fresh meal at least once a week and hit the gym at least bi-daily just to keep myself trim for the ladies.
Girls love a man with stamina and it just so happens that stamina is my middle name. Actually it’s Horace but that’s between you and me and I’m trusting you to keep it secret. Identity fraud is no laughing matter and I’ve got to watch every last cent as the Hasbro settlement isn’t going to last forever and the lease on my pad is extortionate. I live within my means and try my darndest not to fritter a single dime but unfortunately my weakness is shopping and I have been known to blow my stash on occasion.
I can’t help it; it’s like some sort of tick. Because my 50 cc cycle is so sluggish I end up being seduced by all manner of boutiques and find it nigh on impossible to resist. In recent times I have attempted to curb this habit as I’m not getting any younger and must ensure that my nest egg doesn’t hatch or else I could end up out on the streets. It’s excruciatingly difficult as I have never had much respect for the almighty buck and what good is living if you can’t treat yourself from time to time? Lifting weights is a great stress reliever and also encourages maximizing my body index as you’ve always got to be on the lookout for love and I hear that chicks go gaga over a nice solid set of abs.
Speaking of which, I have been single for the past three years after my last relationship went off the rails. At the time, I was juggling the court case with a moonlighting gig at the local wine bar under the guise “Toady Keith”. Country music is my thing and, alas, it isn’t the greatest aphrodisiac as my ex was into dubstep and I just couldn’t get my head around it. It’s all so fragmented; no substitute for a good voice which can tell a story, accompanied by some rousing strings. Come to think of it, my guitar’s around here somewhere. Bear with me and I shall endeavor to dig it out. Aha; there it is.
How could any woman resist this you ask. Well; she did. Left me high and dry and broken-hearted to boot with nary a Dear John letter or even an “apologies but you’re dumped” e-mail. It took me months to pluck up the courage to play again and, once I did, all that pent-up vitriol came flooding to the surface. I began writing really dark, moody music and friends say I lost a little of my spark in the process but I just shunned them and told them to mind their own business. Then I hit the bottle.
Red wine is apparently good for the circulation but I’m fairly assured that six bottles each evening is just asking for kidney damage. Moreover, I began getting moody, and shamefully over-compensated for my lack of confidence by hitting the clubs and getting mixed up with entirely the wrong crowds. At first, it all seemed kosher. I amassed over forty new friends on Facebook and my social calendar was full to brimming. Then it turned sour after I got into a bar brawl and left my associates high and dry. I barely remember the incident as I was three sheets to the wind but the next day they all blocked me. Of course I was too far gone to care and besides, what was more pressing was the momentous hangover and the fact that I had spent half the night in the emergency room getting my stomach pumped. It was time for me to take a long, hard look in the mirror.
I wasn’t enamored by what was looking back at me. What had I become? An abusive, self-centered prick by all accounts and no woman in their right mind was likely to agree to a second date on this evidence. Time to clean up my act I thought, before my name became dirt, and find my true vocation in life. My first consideration was modelling as it appeared to be a decent ice-breaker with the fairer sex and I’ve been told I look a little like Robert Pattinson so it seemed like a no-brainer to cash in on my melancholic look and hopefully snag myself a keeper.
I was quite comfortable in front of the camera and made a name for myself in no time. However, what started as a few innocent shoots began to veer more towards the dubious as a photographer by the name of Hans Ribbit eavesdropped on a conversation I was having with a colleague over making it big and offered me the chance to work for his own publication Playfrog. It seemed harmless so I accepted his card and, within three days, I was in his studio having pictures snapped that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with.
I had always been a rather dignified creature but suddenly folk would tut as I passed them on the street and making centerspread turned out to be something of a poison chalice. This was all wrong; I had forgotten the very reason I got into the game in the first place and wasn’t getting any closer to finding my soul mate. Sure, on the erotica circuit I was considered a king but what good is it being monarchy if you don’t have somebody to share it with?
I joined a couple of dating sites and made some new acquaintances through this medium but still no bona fide action with the ladies. At that point I began to wonder what was wrong with me and considered hitting the bottle again out of self-loathing but, after infinite soul-searching, I took the road less travelled and joined the local book club in an attempt at relocating my center. There I met Lily, the great love of my life, and the yang to my ying…or so I thought. It turned out that Lily too enjoyed shopping and together we ran up a humongous credit card bill as she bled me for every last cent I had.
Stunner ain’t she? Actually, cold bitch is more like it. One morning, after I had prepared a romantic meal for two and serenaded her into the wee hours, she upped and left, taking with her my library card, cheque book, and about forty bucks in loose change from the bedside dresser. I returned to Book Club, despite the whispering amongst my supposed friends, but Lily never came back. Last I heard she had shacked up with a guy named Carl and was helping him spend his inheritance. I don’t hate Carl; it’s not his fault that he was suckered in by her voluptuous curves and come to bed eyes. More the fool him. I’ve got my own laundry list of woes to concern myself with and each night I pray for resolution to my sadness. Above all else, I meditate, and channel my inner Ju Ju. It keeps my equilibrium in check.
Anyhoots, that’s just a little about me. I realize that my hard luck story can be regarded as a tad downbeat and appreciate you listening for as long as you have. I won’t keep you any longer as you have been so patient with me and never cast judgement when I relayed my sordid past. We all make mistakes; even the best of us. At heart, I am a small-town boy with simple needs. Give me a few dragonflies to masticate and I’m happy; if there is one thing I have learned from countless errors it is that basic pleasures far outweigh complex gratification. Thanks for hopping by. Here, please accept these as a token of my appreciation and don’t be a stranger you hear? I picked them fresh this morning from the river bank. I may not look content but rest assured I am smiling on the inside.
Not a flower person huh? Never mind; I think I may have something else in the refrigerator. Bear with me a moment; I shall see what I can rustle up. Here we go; if you don’t like nuts then feel free to pick them out. It’s freshly scooped; picked it up from the ice cream van on the way home from Zumba. Excuse the shades; it has been a long time since I last indulged in a tipple and it has gone straight to my head. Don’t eat it all at once.