Do you recall that childhood rhyme about the place in France where the alligators dance? Well, we never found it. In fact, we never found much of anything in France that was advertised ... but plenty that wasn't! Alligators, no. Frogs, yes! Actually, I don't know why the English refer to the French as frogs. Perhaps the Territorial Enterprise can commission Bill Lowe to investigate this for us and put a word or two about it into his column. Anyway, the French have collectively been referred to as frogs for some time now, and, after one hell of a week in France, I must at least use that theme to tell you about it!
It seems that some years ago these frogs settled into a pond in the western part of a swamp sometimes known as the Euroglades. Now the frogs were far more creative and imaginative in the design and construction of their home than the other swamp creatures lurking to the east or in other parts. So, they built a great frog capital full of delightful buildings, bridges, towers, and restaurants; and named it Rivit-gosh. They never stopped talking about it, extolling the virtues of the ultimate in froggidom. They just loved their great Frog City, and made a big deal out of advertising far and wide throughout the Euroglades as the ultimate holiday destination. Well, the swamp creatures from all over came to see what all the bragging was about. They had seen the slick travel posters and TV ads inviting them to come see for themselves that the frog's capital left the rest of the Euroglades in the shade.
Well, all the other creatures came from far and wide to see the great city that the frogs had built. They came in droves, packs, schools, and herds. They saw that it was good. But a problem arose. The frogs soon got tired of the bulls, bears, rats, birds, and other swamp-type creatures climbing all over their monuments, and tromping through their nice buildings and museums of froggie grandeur. Within no time the frogs were mighty tired of foreigners of any description. They would have preferred to see all the tourists just go back home and leave Rivit-gosh to them. The frogs even wished they could forbid non-frogs entry. But, alas, the frogs had a small problem. Their penchant for high-living had somewhat overextended them financially. They needed the cash flow to support their lifestyle in Rivit‑gosh, so they had to rely on tourism to keep the lily pad afloat! The sad fact is they had to tolerate thugs and clods from just about everywhere, stumbling and bumbling all over their fair city, just to make ends meet. This still rubs the frogs the wrong way to this very day.
They may have to put up with it, but they don't have to like it. And they don't. So, the frogs fight back. If the others insist on coming, then, by croaky, they will pay for it! And they do! And we did! Non-frogs are discriminated against constantly. The frogs charge the non-frogs extra for everything. Cheating the tourists is a froggie pasttime. They love sitting around in the evening, swapping fish stories. It seems the fish are the most gullible – easiest of the tourists to fool. But all tourists are fair game for the frogs. Those devious amphibians particularly enjoy torturing the other creatures by faining inability to speak any language but their own. This infuriates most of the other creatures, who have more or less settled on using some variation of the bull's language (John Bull's) to communicate. But the frogs will have none of it. Frogspeak it is, and nothing else will do. If they don't wish to deal with you, a simple shrug and a rivit-rivit will put you in your place. It's their lily pad and you have to do things their way. Okay, fair enough – that's life in the swamp. But, we discovered that the tourist is not without some recourse of his own. When you're there at one of the many fine-but-overpriced restaurants, be sure to order frog legs!
Territorial Enterprise Reprint, 1985