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By Staff | Sep 16, 2011

So I was mowing the lawn the other day when it occurred to me that I’m a frog assassin.

This was not a goal I had set for my life. It’s not like I went to a special ops school where I and other fresh-faced cadets were drilled about the habits of hoppy amphibians: the places where frogs tend to vacation, which bars they are most likely to frequent after work, their favorite brand of shampoo. That is, if frogs used shampoo. Which I’m pretty sure they don’t.

A highly-trained cold-blooded James Bond-like frog killer I am not.

But there I was, rubbing out numerous frogs as I piloted my lawnmower across our front lawn. Well, not exactly rubbing out. The process was actually more akin to hitting the “liquefy” button on a blender.

Perhaps I should have felt guilty about mowing down the hapless hoppers, but what could I do? The silly frogs weren’t getting out of the way quickly enough! And some of them actually leaped toward the mower, as if they had a death wish or were vying for a spot in a Jackass movie.

In any case, I felt not the slightest bit of remorse. I saw it as natural selection via gas-powered lawn care equipment.

We seem to have an overabundance of frogs this year. You see them at night in the headlights, tiny liquid green arcs that erupt randomly from the road.

You would never see any self-respecting toad behave so, tempting fate in the inky asphalt darkness.

Maybe the profusion of frogs can be explained by this year’s weather. Up until several weeks ago, the road ditches near my house held ponds of water. Judging by the amphibian chorus that serenaded us each night, there was a megalopolis of lovelorn frogs residing in those ponds.

But summer wore on and the water gradually disappeared. Imagine it from the frogs’ point of view. You and a bunch of your buddies are living it up in a virtual palace.

One day, you notice that your mansion has shrunk considerably; in less than a week, your digs have completely evaporated.

What’s a frog to do? One of your pals points out that yonder lawn is green and inviting, a jungle of damp grass. Let’s move in there, urge your buddies. What’s the worst that could happen? It isn’t like that lawn ever gets mowed.

One of those Lilliputian frogs somehow found his way into our basement. We know this thanks to the loud chirrups that are emitted by our downstairs squatter.

I have searched for the little bugger, eager to serve him an eviction notice. But he somehow knows to shut up if I so much as think about going to the basement.

I don’t know what he’s living on, but hope it’s cobweb spiders. There certainly seems to be a plentiful supply of those things in the cellar!

Sooner or later, everyone who drives a car will visit automotive mayhem upon some furry or feathered or slimy creature. You might even see the critter at the roadside, debating over whether or not to cross.

It’s easy to imagine what’s going through one’s head: “Should I go? No, that car’s coming too fast! Wait! It’s slowing down and swerving to give me more space! I bet I can make it! Here goes! Hey, he’s speeding back up! AIIEEE!!”

Some of us country folk – myself included – will actually try to take aim at these jaywalking varmints. This is only happens on roads where there’s no traffic and the critter in question is clearly a pest, such as a mouse or a gopher.

Sadly, I have yet to see a traveling salesman standing at the roadside debating whether or not he should go for it.

I am by no means the only person in our family to commit motorized mayhem. My wife recalls the carnage that once followed when she drove the lawnmower over a nest of baby mice.

And she’s especially adept at “grilling” deer with our car, a particularly expensive method for obtaining fresh venison.

Our sons remember an incident that occurred when they were yet too young to drive. They were riding in the car with their grandma when a striped gopher scampered across the lonesome gravel road.

Grandma suddenly swerved toward the gopher! “Darn!” she muttered, “Missed the little bugger!”

The boys were taken aback. This was a side of their kindly grandma that they had never seen!

Later, when they told us of the event, they ended their tale with, “Who would have thought that Grandma is a killer?”

I could only grin. It runs in the family.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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