Froggy Went A-Courtin’ (Revised)

I first published this story in an old blog, now long gone into the internet scrapheap. It is a true story.

A dark event in my life occurred on hot July day in 2005, when my brother, Marty, and I were working as the horticultural maintenance staff at Talladega Superspeedway. On the day in question, Marty was working alone in the infield while I supervised a small crew of people in cleaning up one of the more pleasant campgrounds just outside the ring of the track.

I and my crew were removing pine straw, pine cones, and fallen branches from the shady RV campground situated behind Turn Number One on the front stretch. We walked around the grounds with leaf-blowers under the giant pines, gathering up the debris and hauling it away to a burn pit, taking turns driving the UTV’s.

It was one of those knockout midsummer days that we get sometimes in Alabama, where the humidity is at a civilized level, and the temperature is in the low nineties. The Superspeedway sits in a valley, surrounded in every direction by ridge lines belonging to the foothills of the Appalachian mountain range. On this day, the air was clear, and the ridges were dark green on the horizon, and I was feeling pretty glad to be working outdoors in my home State.

I set down my leaf-blower, and informed one of my crew members that I intended to walk over to the closest bathroom, and I’d be back soon.

The walk to the bath house was pleasant. I strolled up to the low cinder-block building, and headed for the Ladies’ room.

I should make note here of how the Superspeedway handled stocking the bath houses. In between races, the bathrooms weren’t stocked with toilet paper. Re-stocking was always done just prior to each of the two race weekends. This bi-annual restocking meant that, the closer one got to a race weekend, the less likelihood there was that the Men’s facility would be stocked with toilet paper, since we had very few women employed in Facilities Maintenance. As a matter of fact, that year, 2005, there was only one woman working outside, and it was her that I informed of my call of nature, so that there wouldn’t be any conflict with the bathroom. The lady knew how things worked, and she was understanding of the situation.

Entering the Ladies’ Room, I chose one of the eight or ten stalls at random, went in, dropped my pants, and sat down.

I made a grave error that day, and I have to give y’all some explanation, so that you will understand the gravity of my mistake.

The bath-houses dotting the campground landscapes at Talladega are outdoor facilities, with only enough electricity supplied to them to enable a couple of lights to work. Although not necessarily primitive, the bathrooms are definitely not palatial, either. The roofs sit about six inches above the walls for ventilation purposes, and so birds, spiders, and other critters are able to make homes in some of the buildings until crews go in prior to the race weekends in order to de-critter them; for this reason, it is always wise to inspect the underside of the toilet seat before sitting down, in case a spider or wasp would be crawling around underneath the seat. On that fateful day in 2005, I failed to make a proper inspection.

I had been sitting on the toilet for only a couple of seconds when something cold, clammy, and EVIL gripped my exposed man-parts, from underneath.

I should point out, here, that I am afraid of spiders. I don’t like the way they look; I hate the way they walk, and if spiders had any detectable odor, I would no doubt hate the way they smell.

I KNEW, down deep in my soul, that whatever gripped my man-fruits had eight evil legs and a red hourglass blazoned on it’s back. I knew this, because I routinely killed Black Widow spiders on Superspeedway grounds every day; and underneath toilet seats is a great place for a Black Widow to lurk, hoping to catch an unwary horticulturist in a compromising position and bite him on the nertz. It’s what Black Widows live for.

                                                                                                         ####

As soon as I felt the cold, clammy hand of death gripping me, I did several things simultaneously, in the space of a split second.

First, I screamed.

GNEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHEEEEEEEAAAAAAGGGHHHH!”

I’m a baritone when I sing; but on that sunny summer day in 2005, I could have taught a soprano how to break glass.

The remainder of the split second involved multiple, simultaneous actions. I tried, of course, to run, which was problematic with my pants around my ankles, so I wasn’t successful. I also tried to jump, which caused my knee to collide with the plastic toilet-paper dispenser, ripping it from the side of the stall, and making a racket that acted as the percussion section to my singing scream. While performing all of the other actions, at the same time I was trying, with my right hand, to grab and remove the demon that was clinging to my favorite dangly bits.

Removing the thing that was gripping my nethers was more difficult than it should have been. Whatever it was, was cold, clammy, and clinging stubbornly to my skin; which, of course, forced me to envision fangs, pincers, or possibly even ninja-spikes. When I was finally able to rip the offender from my crotch, and bring it, wriggling madly, out where I could see it, I saw that my attacker was…a green tree frog.   (more, after the pic)

Do not be fooled by the innocent look.  A green tree frog is a heart-attack waiting to happen.  Photo from commons.wikimedia.org

Do not be fooled by the innocent look. A green tree frog is a heart-attack waiting to happen. Photo from commons.wikimedia.org

The frog had apparently been sitting quietly underneath the toilet seat, waiting patiently for an unsuspecting victim to have a seat so that he coud swing like Tarzan from whatever parts came within reach.

Now, y’all have to remember that at the time of this occurrence, I was still a prodigal, and not inclined to go to church, so I’m afraid I said some things to that frog that are not appropriate in Christian society. I’m pretty sure that I said some things that would make a pole-dancer blush, before I threw the bewildered and insulted frog into the toilet and flushed.

Don’t feel bad for little froggy, folks. The bath house was located very close to the lagoon into which all waste water at the racetrack empties, so Mr. Frog most likely ended up in the lagoon, from which he could easily crawl back to the bath house, if he so desired.

My screams, and the crashing of the toilet-paper dispenser had attracted the attention of my co-workers, one of which came into the bathroom to see if I was being murdered. For some reason, when he found out what had really happened, my co-worker was amused, and told the story to the other members of our little crew.

I never, ever, sat on any outdoor toilet without giving the whole space a thorough inspection. Lesson learned. For quite understandable reasons, I no longer think of tree frogs as cute little amphibians; they are indeed regarded by me to be potential assailants, and I give them a wide berth.

Comments

comments