“I can’t do anything right,” cried the wood toad to the frog.
“What do you mean?” the frog licked his eyeball and looked up from The Daily Flypaper.
“People are always upset at me for something or another. They call me slimy and warty and all these other names.” The toad rubbed a foot over his soft leathery skin that was neither slimy, nor warty. “I’m never wanted, and if I breathe in the wrong place someone tries to run me over with a bicycle or a car.”
“Have you tried not being in the wrong place?” Said the frog as he looked back down at The Daily Flypaper. His tongue ricocheted off an unsuspecting gnat mid-flight and re-entered his mouth.
The toad filled his bellows and let out a croaking sigh. “Why? Do you think I haven’t already tried that?” The toad hopped a little farther along his path, though he didn’t know where it went. “I don’t know why I’m always in the wrong place.”
The frog hopped closer to the pond. “Well, maybe you haven’t found the right place where you belong. I belong in the pond and no one tells me I’m in the wrong place.”
“Lucky you.” The toad rolled his eyes and flicked his nictitating membranes. “It would help if I knew more toads and fewer frogs.”
The frog left the flypaper on the ground and without a word proceeded to the pond.
“Great,” the toad thought aloud, “I’ve chased another creature away. So I’m friendless and always out of place.”
“I know someone that might be able to help you.” The shuddering leaves and branches above him said. When the toad looked up he saw a large owl perched with a raven.
“And why would you help me? Don’t you both eat toads?” The toad gulped, ready to dash for the holes near the roots of the tree.
“That depends – I hear miserable creatures taste awful.” The raven looked at the owl, ruffling her feathers.
The owl in kind hooted with laughter. “I’m not interested in eating anything that doesn’t taste good. Maybe I’ll eat you if you ever come back here happy.” The owl preened a bit and observed her surroundings as the dusk continued to fall. “There’s a witch on the edge of the woods. That witch will help you find true happiness. Follow the walking path from the pond to her stone cottage to her garden. There you’ll find her and be able to ask for help with your problem.”
The raven let out a low, mocking laugh. “Yes. Your problem. Not ours. Now, on your way.”
The toad turned to the path ahead. He was going to have a long night.
I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of The Adventures of Toad. Feel free to like, comment, or share. The comments section is reserved for readers to share their thoughts on the story with me and please have fun! I try to get comments read and posted quickly – moderation helps to prevent spam.
She listens to the world move [beat, two-three, beat] like old people listen to talk radio. And flutters in her own world, wild thing, she programs an image to her brain:
Much like a ballet, she falls when she fears the music is stopping. [pressing her cheek against her knee] Then valiantly she jumps and spins, [twirling two, three, spinning two, three]
But eventually, all music ends;
fallen on the stage
If you connected with this poem, the comments section is for you to share your thoughts and/or experiences.I am grateful to anyone that chooses to share – I make that space for you.Thank you for taking the time to read this poem today.
I love flightless birds. You might even say they’re a favorite category of bird.
While my absolute favorite bird is the Okarito kiwi (and I promise to do a write up about why eventually), there are so many close runner ups. Flightless birds are badasses and they are disappearing. Fast.
But last year Janske van de Crommenacker et al published about their incredible discovery of a species of flightless bird re-evolving itself back into existence on the little island of Aldabra off the coast of Madagascar.
This brings into play, based on the fossil and what data we have recorded so far, the first documented case of iterative evolution.
They figured this out by comparing the current genome to historic DNA samples from the extinct species. This is practically the plot of Jurassic Park, except all done not by humans.
So, over 10,000 years, the Aldabra Rail evolved itself back into existence.
If you want to take something motivational away from this:
You can always reinvent yourself.
If an entire species can re-evolve itself back into existence – you can pick yourself back up and keep going.
You can survive whatever you’re going through. It may be arduous, but I promise you’ll find a way.
This was your motivational, slightly scientific TIL.
Please feel free to use the comment to share your thoughts and personal experiences openly and freely below – I reserve the comments section for that. Thank you for taking the time to read this today.
What did we do to prevent diseases and still carry on with daily life before vaccines existed? Vulnerable populations still existed. Public health measures still existed, even under President Herbert Hoover. So let’s take a gander into the archives of historical texts, starting with my grandmother’s health textbook.
It should be noted, as we are reading a historic text in its context, that my grandmother was a young white woman born in 1925 in Birmingham, Alabama to a doctor that made a point of treating people of all colors. That is not to say this did not occur without discrimination. As I was not alive and never met my great grandfather, I will never know the full story without speculation. My grandmother did explain to me that she attended an all white school. The name of the school her and her brother, William, attended was called “Edgewood” according to her distinctive cursive handwriting on the inside cover.I do not know if this is the same textbook that was used at other schools in the Birmingham area.
One distinct aspect of this textbook is the emphasis on good citizenship skills being a necessary requirement for preventing disease. But what is “good citizenship” and how does a health textbook from the 1930s define this?
Earlier in the text, good citizenship is defined as including everything from behavioral expectations and good hygiene to looking out for your fellow man in your daily activities. One prohibition era example of this being moderating consumption of anything that may dull or alter perception, such as alcohol containing medicines. There is an emphasis on “knowing thyself” and having awareness as being an important philosophical concept necessary for good health (see below).
Part of good citizenship seems to be a willingness to understand the concept of doing what is best for the common good, or what is best for maintaining the health and wellbeing of the population at large. This included some rather drastic measures, such as “sanitariums.” I will get to how tuberculosis sanitariums are described in the book in part 2 when we discuss the concept of the common good.
What did good citizenship mean? This is discussed throughout the textbook and I have attempted to summarize the concept here. It meant:
Not going out in public if you were sick, caring for a sick person at home, or were exposed to someone you later found out was sick until after the isolation period was over. In fact, make a special room in your house that can be converted to a “sick room” to isolate a person if they get sick – make sure it has plenty of windows you can open to keep the room “well-aired” with lots of daylight while it is shut off from the rest of the house.
Participating in volunteer groups, such as community service and church groups, that provide resources to keep others from feeling like they can not maintain the actions associated with good citizenship.
Keeping yourself clean and encouraging those around you to do the same through regular bathing, hand washing, and laundering of garments. This also included the wearing of aprons and work clothes that would be changed upon entering the home. By changing outfits regularly you kept the “germs” associated with the different parts of your life compartmentalized.
During certain times of the year, such as the winter, keep a wash basin by the front door with lye soap for guests and occupants of the home or building.
Wearing gloves to keep the hands clean while you are out and about and changing gloves between activities. These should be laundered regularly.
Using a handkerchief that is not to be shared for crying, coughing, sneezing, and all other expulsions of bodily fluids from the face. This should be laundered regularly with a disinfectant.
Eating healthy, home-cooked food from a clean kitchen, and bringing food of this kind to events. Practicing good hygiene in the kitchen is a must. (There is no mention of hand washing or gloves in the kitchen interestingly, but there is mention of washing vegetables, utensils, plates, and the management of food waste.)
Having home activities that keep your family fit and healthy, while bonded together. Suggested sports include examples such as tennis and chopping wood. (I’m not kidding about the chopping wood bit – that’s a sport for family bonding.)
Listening to the directions of your public health officials to prevent outbreaks. At the time only one vaccine was available (pertussis), but there were other prevention methods no longer used today.
If you were exposed to someone with one of these diseases you had to isolate at home. If you didn’t do that, your parents were being bad citizens.
What is a bad citizen? That’s a more complicated subject and is where we start to delve into problematic areas with how this advice was given. In more modern terms that strip away the problematic content of the past, if you’re actively not helping to keep everyone around you safe and out of harm’s way, you’re a bad citizen.
It’s fascinating how times change. These methods were used to keep schools safe and in session before vaccines (not perfectly – outbreaks definitely still happened).
Anyways, I’ll revisit history again soon. Hope this was as informative for you as it was for me!
If you would like to see more posts like this one, please be sure to like, comment, and/or share this post. This helps me know which posts my readers like the most so I can try and cater my content. As always, thank you for taking the time out of your day to join me.
This post is dedicated to my friend Katrina, and other friends currently dealing with teaching full classrooms over Zoom. Be sure to thank a teacher today.