October 21, 2020

Frog Doc

Once upon a time in the swampy, soupy, humid, snake-infested, stinking, goopy, dismal swamps of the Old South, there lived a man called the Frog Doctor. Nobody knew what his real name was. They just called him “Doc.”

Doc had been around for as long as anyone could remember. Nobody could think of a time when Doc hadn’t been around and nobody could imagine the swampy, soupy, humid, snake-infested, stinking, goopy, dismal swamps without him.

Doc was a fixture in the swamps. Doc was a legend in the swamps. Doc was known throughout the swamps and was sought out by people who came from swamps far and wide. You might even say that Doc’s practice was so popular among swamp people that he was often swamped with patients.

Finding Doc wasn’t hard. He seldom strayed far from home. Or his pad, as he called it. Doc’s pad was located in the swampiest, soupiest, most humid, most snake-infested, stinkiest, goopiest, most dismal part of the nastiest swamp in the most God-forsaken part of Louisiana’s Swamp of Doom.

Legend had it that Doc said he could cure any disease, fix any problem or heal any hurt, guaranteed! Doc was able to make this claim because he knew that if you were capable of making it to his pad, you were probably going to live anyway. So, he just nodded his head quietly and let the legend grow.

He was called the Frog Doctor because everything he did involved frogs. Doc liked to say frogs were his life and that he had been fascinated with frogs ever since he was a little tad. Doc had pet frogs all over the place. He slept on a lily pad. When he went to McDonalds, he always got a large order of flies. When you called Doc in the middle of the night, he’d tell you to take two tadpoles and call him in the morning. He put frog poultices on burns. Made his own frog-based cough syrup. Took frogs in payment for his services. Started the country’s first frog orphanage and established Frog University. (He was always proud of his F.U. sweatshirt.)

Doc treated sick people and sick frogs. Few appreciate the degree of stress in a frog’s life. When stress becomes overwhelming, a frog can go off the deep end unless he gets proper treatment. Many frogs came to Doc complaining that they “just didn’t feel jumpy anymore.”  Doc would always listen sympathetically, then reassure the poor confused amphibian that, with the right combination of therapy and medication, everything would soon be right as rain.

Sure enough, after a week of Doc’s special mixture of caffeine and amphetamines, his patients would feel hoppy again.  Doc was best known for his experimentation with frog-human transplants. One early experiment involved installing the voice box of a frog into the throat of a human volunteer. This procedure was eventually abandoned under pressure from the Construction Workers’ Union who claimed exclusive rights to control ribbeters.

Another well-intentioned experiment was derailed by the International Olympic Committee. They claimed unfair competition just because Doc had transplanted the legs of a prize jumping frog onto the body of a young track star, hoping to set a new record in the high jump. No amount of protesting could reverse the decision of the judges, even though they could cite no rule preventing this procedure.

The final indignity came when Doc put the brain of a rocket scientist into the head of his favorite pet frog. Doc’s plan was to create a “Super Frog” who would produce all kinds of inventions to make life richer, easier and more meaningful for frogs everywhere. Unfortunately, when Doc removed the frog’s brain, he also removed all the frog’s natural instincts that enabled him to live in a dangerous froggy environment. It never occurred to the rocket scientist brain to be on the lookout for a 700-horsepower ski boat with a drunk redneck at the helm.

Then, one day, a strange stillness settled over the swamps. Dark storm clouds formed on the horizon. A sense of foreboding came over man and beast alike. Snakes came out of their snakey hiding places wide-tongued and curious. Spiders stopped spinning their webs and listened. Alligators actually moved an inch or two.  Whooping cranes stopped whooping it up. Possums stopped playing possum. Mosquitoes froze in flight and dropped into the swamps meeting a watery death. (Hooray!) Swamp rats stopped ratting on each other and watched as a small group of courageous men squished and paddled and hacked their way into the swampiest, soupiest, most humid, most snake-infested, stinkiest, goopiest, most dismal part of the nastiest swamp in the most God-forsaken part of Louisiana’s Swamp of Doom only to reappear with the dreaded news:

The Frog Doctor had croaked.

See ya around,

BUCK

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