The Smithsonian, The Frog, and Me.
Yeah. I saw the frog. And it was good.
It’s not, as some might have you believe, like I have some kind of weird worship fetish with the frog. It’s not that at all. I love the frog like I love my friends; he’s someone I’ve grown up with. He’s familiar and comfortable. He’s an inspiration to me. I grew up to be a journalist and its certainly because of the frog’s standup reporting at the scenes of many a fairytale sketch. When I was forming I read the frog’s magazines, I watched the frog’s movies and TV shows. I sang the frog’s songs. I lived through the frog. I knew, without a doubt, that it was not easy being green.
And, yeah. The Frog’s also a product designed to capture my fat and dirty dollar. Especially since he died. This second coming of the Frog has always felt a little weird for me; since the Disney sale, really. Nothing has been right since 1990.
I think that’s why the frog in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History resonated so much with me. This isn’t Brian’s Frog. This wasn’t the Disney Frog. This frog was donated sometime around 1979. I’ve seen the frog before in lots of contexts, but this frog was the real deal. This was Jim’s frog; and somehow, that changes things.
Yeah. I cried. The photos that I snapped of the exhibit don’t capture the joyful energy, the exploding creativity, the love that radiated from the frog. The frog could have stood up and done the happy feet dance in that glass case. The frog is alive with the spirit that one time made him dance. That energy is still in the frog and it radiates around him like a halo.
This frog, I think, is from the frog’s golden age. A master showman, working hard to make the best art he could make given his circumstances, aware of the challenges facing the world, but choosing to sing about those challenges rather than give in. And sometimes the frog gets angry. Sometimes the frog fails. But the frog picks himself back up. The frog makes hard choices, but he makes the right ones. The frog does the right thing, even when it hurts.
The frog is human.
The frog lives.
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