Toads

Wouldn’t it be heinous if we all turned into toads, just overnight, sort of thing? If we all woke up, and we were toads, only we had no idea how to live as toads? We’d be hopping about like a load of warty gabshites, not wanting to eat our bugs. Most of us would die of being stuck indoors. We’d dry and we’d starve, and be mummified toads on our floors. We’d be these…sad heaps of old leather purses, all huddled together in our corners.

My parents used to send me to church camp in the summers, which was funny, as we never went to church. I don’t know. Maybe it was cheaper than regular camp. Anyway, there was a song involved, a camp song, and it went like this:

I just wanna be a sheep. Baa, baa.
I just wanna be a sheep. Baa, baa.
I don’t want to be a Pharisee.
Because they are not fair, you see. ♪
I just wanna be a sheep. Baa, baa.

I mean, I didn’t say it was a good song. But there was a song. And I’m feeling it today. I don’t want to be a toad (croak, croak).

The other thing, if you were a toad—if you were fortunate enough to become one in a toad-rich environment, in an outdoor sort of milieu—would proper toads prove welcoming? Could you hop right up, like “hello, fellow toad,” or would they know you for a fraud? (I almost wrote “froad” right there.) Would you have to spend your whole toady life doing a fake toady accent, knowing the other toads saw right through you? Would you get the worst bugs at the toadmas feast, and a bad rate on your auto loan? (Because toads do love their motorcars. Poop-poop.)

If I had to wake up and be a toad, I suppose I’d want it to happen somewhere pleasant, with no birds, and maybe one or two real toads. Like a high mountain lake where I’d hibernate in the mud most of the year. The other toads would be so lonely they’d have to include me, and I wouldn’t get swallowed by a heron. Every summer, I’d bake on a rock and wait for the bugs to come to me. That’d be the best way to be a toad.

This has been a test of the emergency toad metamorphosis system. If this were a real toadpocalypse, we’d all be—

—grubbit. Bronk.

17 thoughts on “Toads

  1. That’s a very fetching headkerchief.

    The choice between being unfair and stupid is very, ahem, unfair.

    Maybe better a sheep than a toad though (if you luck out on a good farm).

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    1. I suppose it depends on which lives longer, and which has a better quality of life. Sheep get chopped up for mutton, and they get their tails cut off. But toads are ugly, and lots of things eat them. I suppose I’d have to try being a sheep, then a toad, and see which was better.

      If I could pick, of course, I’d want to be something that could open doors, which I guess would be…an ape, or maybe certain large birds? Being an emu might not be all bad.

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      1. An emu is good if you want to terrorise people and be a general nuisance.

        Apologies for the belated reply, the last few days have been busier than usual (in case this sounds too industrious, partying and alcohol were mostly to blame, it’s always the recreational bits that leave you really tired and drained).

        By the way, local myrtles THRIVE in the sun, so yours is probably suffering from something else (unless it’s a different, temperate clime myrtle).

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        1. Ugh. My brown thumb strikes again. I think that myrtle’s dying to spite me. At least my air plant’s still alive, but I’m not sure those are real plants. I think they might be an incredibly realistic trick on plant-buyers.

          I thought it was geese who were the kings of nuisance and terror…I’m still waiting for that game where you get to be a goose and run about honking at people. Now, that would be the life.

          Don’t apologise for having a good time! The Internet will keep. You have to savour your proper life.

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          1. Everytime I pass by a myrtle I have a temptation to pluck a leaf and crush it under my nose for the smell (which isn’t very nice toward the myrtle, which is why I usually resist).

            I also really want to believe in your “sweet middle aged lady” persona (which entails lots of green things and gardening), so I’m ready to pretend your brown thumb isn’t a thing (easier for me than for the plants). You might want to invest in succulents and cacti, they’re hardier than air plants (…I think).

            Geese is something you don’t encounter much here, emus and ostriches though are a common zoo/petting corner fixture. If you drive through the Tel-Aviv safari with your windows down and stop for more than a minute, you’re sure to be invaded. It’s as dangerous as facing them outside the car, but they still can bite (or steal your sandwich).

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              1. Oh, I’ve killed a succulent, just recently, either by overwatering or underwatering. I’m not sure which, but it’s certainly dead. I wish there were little robot things you could stick in the soil with your plants, and they’d monitor your plant’s condition and tell you exactly what to do to it. That would be so much better than pots and pots of dead plants.

                I can’t picture wanting to pet an ostrich, by the way. It would be like hugging an ibis: really awkward.

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                1. You know, “I kill succulents” would make for a good “bad car sticker” (at least, definitely better than “bad daddy on board”, which seems to be the most popular one here). Little robot things sound like something that should exist by now, just at really exorbitant prices.

                  Ostriches in petting corners aren’t there to be petted per se… They usually live in a separate enclosure behind a wire fence, people look at them and sometimes feed them things/get bitten.

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                  1. Here, about the worst we get is “I ❤ my dog,” except instead of the heart, there’s a spade. Which isn’t really a bad thing. It’s responsible to spay your dog. But maybe the whole world doesn’t need to hear about your dog’s private business.

                    Ostriches have such goofy faces. It’s hard to be afraid of an ostrich from a distance. It’s not till there’s one right in front of you, and you see how big it is, and how crazed its eyes are, you realise you should be worried. Still, better an ostrich than a cassowary.

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                    1. At least that fits the Canadian stereotype, if that’s the pinnacle of crassness (actually, the worst car sticker overhere is “*insert name of racist/fundamentalist politician* was right”, but it’s mercifully rare).

                      When I first saw a photo of a cassowary, I wished I could meet one in real life (before reading about what they can do). In general, my childhood has been defined by looking at photos of weird animals and wishing I could see them for real (we were poor and didn’t have a tv, or a computer with internet, until after 2002).

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                    2. When I was a kid, I got bitten by a bird Mother swears was a cassowary, but I can’t believe it could’ve been. It WAS a large bird, and it DID get mad and peck me when it had finished eating my lunch and there was nothing more to steal, but why would a cassowary be wandering around where it could bother people?

                      You know what I like, animal-wise? I like huge tanks filled with jellyfish. They just float around and you can sit and watch them. Deep-sea fish are good, too, and those see-through frogs, and anything of the octopus/squid/nautilus persuasion.

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                    3. It’s hard to imagine a cassowary outside Australia. Could it be a smaller bird with a similar, but feathery, crest? Some sort of pheasant-like thing.

                      I am not a beach person (the sun makes me either sunburnt, drowsy, or both), but I did see quite a few jellies at Rosh Ha-Nikra grottoes. You have those narrow walkways hugging the walls with the sea splashing below and sending light reflections all over the cavern vault (it feels like something straight out of “Riven”, if you played that game), and jellyfish are the one animal you consistently see there. They fit right in the mystical/serene surroundings, undulating slowly through the green, translucent water below. Wouldn’t mind that kind of aquarium either.

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                    4. I’m guessing that’s what it was. I don’t remember it clearly, as I was very young. All I remember is an enormous bird towering over me, pecking at my sandwich till it was gone. It might’ve been a rhea or an emu, but I don’t remember its neck being that long. I suppose I’ll never know.

                      I did play “Riven,” in fact. Man, that was a while ago. At the time, the graphics in that series were groundbreaking. Now, they’re like…whoa, cheesy 3D. Ha, ha. I think it was the feeling of those games, though, more than the graphics, that was the draw. It was like STARTING in the huge, lonely world you end up with, in most games. You can visit a lot of places, but there’s never really anything there, just visual clues that slowly let you assemble a story.

                      No jellyfish, though. Just that great, awful whale-thing jump scare. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! Wasn’t expecting that.

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                    5. I don’t think I ever really progressed anywhere in “Riven”, and switching the CDs was a pain, but it’s still one of my fondest gaming experiences, based on atmosphere alone. I did finish “Lands of Lore 2”, which was slightly less frustrating but just as atmospheric. Nineties games had that colourful, somewhat new-agey aesthetic that was extremely magical. There is nothing quite like it in games today (or maybe I’m just getting old).

                      The jellyfish in the grottoes didn’t feel like a jumpscare. They just floated in the water below and added to the atmosphere. It was all rather serene.

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                    6. I did finish “Riven,” but not any of the “Lands of Lore” games. Can’t remember whether there were two or three of those. I remember loving the beginning parts and getting tired of them before the end, because the grind became too extreme and I kept getting lost.

                      I was a big fan of all those Sierra adventure games, back then. I noticed a new “Leisure Suit Larry” is about to come out, which is annoying, because…seriously? “Leisure Suit Larry”? Of all the brilliant games of that era, THAT’S the well they go back to? I’d have loved to see one more “Quest for Glory.” Or “Space Quest.” Screw Larry, though. I played those games, but they weren’t nearly as fun as the others. They were far too much about the novelty and the penis jokes.

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                    7. I think I only finished “Lands of Lore” because I broke and looked at a walkthrough. It was the one where you randomly turn into a tiny lizard or a giant monster, which meant that there were areas you could get stuck in if the game’s random transformation algorithm refused to cooperate.

                      I remember playing “Quest for Glory 4”, which occured in a gothic East Europe setting, with vampyres and so on… There was a specific town square with a flower bed in it where you could fall asleep to see cryptic “prophetic dreams”, which I thought was a genius touch immersion-wise. It also had a really neat soundtrack.

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                    8. Yeah, if it hadn’t been for the game-breaking bugs, “Quest for Glory 4” would’ve been the best in the series. I couldn’t even finish it because a bug prevented a necessary event from triggering, and further progress became impossible. The setting was easily the best of the series, though, and I didn’t even mind it being a point-and-click adventure, rather than a text parser game. (I was one of the few who didn’t like that transition.)

                      Because of the bugs, “Quest for Glory II” ended up being the best. The third and fifth ones were terrible, and the first was fun, but too short. (I especially hated the third one because there was a plot event that seemed like a puzzle you could solve, so I spent AGES trying to keep this guy from dying, only to discover you can’t do that.)

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