Monday, September 3, 2012

A Noun is a Naming Word: Frog edition

You might have noticed that I name things that some people don't name. Like Simon the spider, and Gordon and Gary the geckos, and Johnny Rotten the possum and all his punk friends. Now, apparently because I'm not six, this is a little strange. And to those people I say: Fine, disregard the opportunity to invest your life with a little imagination. It costs nothing, but hey, it's your choice. I won't judge you -- oh wait, I just did. 

See what I did there? 

I first started naming frogs when I was about eight, and lived in a small town called Monto. One tiny green frog turned up on the screen of my bedroom window. He was called Ferdinand, and first of many frogs. I think I was up to seven by the time we moved. The frogs and I got on really well, except for that one night I opened the screen and Ferdinand joined me in bed. I screamed, he panicked, and we were both traumatised for a while. 

My current window sill frog is called Fidel Bonaventure Jumping-Castle. He is actually Fidel Bonaventure Jumping-Castle the Second (the double barrel surname is because he's an aristocrat, obviously). His namesake, the original Fidel Bonaventure Jumping-Castle, was a very agéd green tree frog with skin as dark as rainforest moss and prominent hip bones. Each wet season he sat on my window sill and sang rain songs. 

Fidel Bonaventure Jumping-Castle the Second is, I suspect, my former toilet bowl frog. There is obviously a strict hierarchical system in place. When the king dies, the toilet bowl frog is promoted to the window sill, and one of the downpipe frogs takes over toilet bowl duties. 

When I first moved into my house I was still a bit nervous of frogs thanks to Ferdinand. I liked them, but I didn't like how they have no way to indicate which way they are going to jump. Now, thanks to the toilet bowl frogs, I'm very good at catch and release. I mean, it's either that or pee on them. And you know how you should never turn your back on someone you don't trust? Well, there are other things you should never expose as well. That's just common sense. 

Fidel Bonaventure Jumping-Castle II
"Why," someone at work asked me once, "have you given a name like that to a frog?" 

Because Fidel Bonaventure Jumping-Castle isn't just a name. It's a story waiting to be told, and I like to cram as many of those as I can into my life. 

Imagination: Use it or Lose It. 

Do you exercise your imagination by naming things? 


  1. Last experience I had with frogs involved realising one was two and they were making tadpoles :P

    And yes, I name all sorts of things. I also love to give out nicknames to children I've worked with.

    1. Ha! I knew it was a writer thing!

  2. So you're saying you have tattooed, banana-stealing possums, geckos that fall from the ceiling into your soup, and frogs that jump out of your toilet INSIDE your house? I really think you need to change the locks.

    And, okay, Fidel is kind of cute. I'd actually love to see him up close...well, not in the bathroom, but maybe on the porch or something. What a gorgeous shade of green.

    1. LG, if only if were as simple as changing the locks! Old house = windows that don't shut properly = accidental wildlife sanctuary. But at least the frogs and geckos keep the insects in check.

      And Fidel is a gorgeous shade of green. Also, he's quite friendly and doesn't mind getting his photograph taken at all.

  3. Ferdinand joined me in bed. I screamed, he panicked, and we were both traumatised for a while.

    I had the same experience with a guy named Fred.

    I'm always giving names to animals, including chipmunks (Chippy and Shorty), raccoons (Burly and The Bad Boys), and turkeys (The Three Wise Men).

    All the best to Sir Jumping Castle II. He looks likes he's enjoying his promotion.

    1. Lol!

      I had a bush turkey on my roof the other week. I didn't name it though. I was too busy thinking, "Holy hell, there's a turkey on my roof."

      I don't think our turkeys are anything like your turkeys though...

  4. We had a stray dog who would stand just inside the treeline and bark his brains out at our dog. I named him, of course, Woody Barker. And the shaggy white cat who dropped around every now and then to beat one of our cats to a bloody pulp was Hairy White. People thought I was awfully popular, because I was always telling Mom that Hairy White and Woody Barker had been to see me every night that week.

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

    1. I think it's natural to name things when you're a kid, and give stories to them. It's sort of a shame we're expected to grow out of it, Why, when it's such fun?

  5. That is an awesome name. I like to make up little backstories for things too, but I never come up with good names. Mine would be Mr. Frog. Yours is so much cooler.

    1. See, I could never use Mr Frog. It reminds me too much of Mr Toad from Toad Hall. God, I love Mr Toad.



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