pacman frog, alien biscuit, but no dead body in my car

Posted: January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

I stared down into the aquarium.  My brain could not process what my eyes saw there on the flat rock, beside the little pool of water.  I tried harder, looking from first one angle and then another.  Stone?  Plant?  Animal?  The harder I looked, the more a creeped-out chill ran down my spine. 

My kids loved critters from the pet store.  The room I was in held half a dozen aquariums.  A water dog lived in one.  Another held hermit crabs.  A plastic mouse cage had bright colored tubes and tunnels protruding from the top and sides.  The stink of wet cat food emanated from the turtle tank.  Placid, colorful fish swam lazy laps in one.  This one…this one should be FROGS. 

We had just been to the pet store the night before.  Caleb had bought a “pac-man” frog, hilariously round, and we had added it to the tank with the little tree frog he had caught in our yard.  This tank should be frogs

But what was I looking at?

Something like panic started in my belly, because my brain flatly refused to provide an interpretation of what was before my eyes.  Finally, tentatively, I got a pencil and poked at the object, trembling and flinching, expecting it to maybe fly into sudden action or explode into goo…or…or….well, WHO KNEW what it might do?  What the hell was it? 

And then I got this much:  there were 2 sets of frog legs, 2 different sizes, each opposite of the other.  But the unknown thing was so very un-froggish that it took me a lot more poking around, holding my breath and ready to screech and scream and run away at the slightest provocation, before I was able to see, to understand, to know the story.

The pac-man frog, you see, had decided the tree frog would make a good snack.  The tree frog must have resisted pretty hard.  And he was really too big a snack for the pac-man frog, who had all but unhinged his bottom jaw to fit him in there.  The two had died in the tussle, presumably one from suffocation and one from choking, leaving a strange headless sort of froggish mass in the middle, with a set of legs extending from each end. 


But no longer scary, once I had an idea what it was. 

I thought of that this morning after I went to get in my car.  Opening the back door to put my bags on the seat, I spied…what was it?  My first thought was vomit.  But how does someone hurl inside my locked car?  It was brown and white and mushy and it was everywhere – on the seat, all over the floor.  Happily, my Sonata is a tiny little thing – nowhere to hide a person.  Had I been an SUV driver, I might have been tempted to back away from the door, for fear of someone hiding in there.  Or dead in there. 

Turned out an unopened can of soda I had forgotten for months on the floor in the back seat had exploded from the cold.  The can was split clear in half on the floor, under a huge pile of brown and white frozen stuff that matched the stuff on the seat.  It was an easy cleanup, since everything was still frozen.  And my little tremor of EEK went away pretty quickly. 

And then of course there was the time when a pre-k Caleb threw up in his sleep, and called to me hysterically in the morning, when he woke with the top of his head stuck to the pillow by dried up stuff, saying, “Something came out of my head!” with fear in his eyes.

And how about the time I saw something – insect? fungus? alien? – hanging from the kitchen ceiling on a hot afternoon, only to discover that a can of biscuits from the groceries I was unpacking had exploded from the heat and one little raw biscuit was clinging, where the wall met the ceiling.  I nearly evacuated the house before I came to understand it was just a biscuit.  Not an insect.  Not a fungus.  Not an alien.  (This thought ran through my head – seriously – that maybe it was an alien!  I don’t even believe in aliens!)  A BISCUIT.

We are funny little creatures, when we don’t understand something.  Fear can be our first answer.  Bizarre and remote possibilities can be the next.  It makes me wonder where I am doing that in a more metaphorical way.  What am I watching in relationships or politics or culture that I just flat don’t have a reference for, that I cannot process for lack of a place to begin?  Where am I afraid, just because I don’t know what I’m looking at? 

Know what I mean?


  1. Linda says:

    Oh my goodness I laughed so hard at each of these. The frog one really got me and the car and the biscut. You are so awesome with words…I could see every picture you were discribing!!

  2. just a wondrous read!!! splendid!!

  3. Stacy says:

    Hilarious!! What a fun read!
    I have to say that I frequently suffer with this in relationships. Both friendships and my marriage have been touched by me freaking out when I cant tell exactly what is going on. So weird how that works. I sure wish I could process first, then react. Hmm..something to work on I suppose.

    • karen says:

      Ahhh Stacy I LOVE IT that you heard my question and it resonated with you! The fun is fun, but for me it’s even more fun when something of lasting value gets pulled out of it! I will pray for you that you see what He shows you about those things.

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