Jumpin’ Jimmy of Calaveras County Part 1

Written by on March 28, 2012

In the summer of ’85,  in Mark-Twain-renowned Calaveras County, California, I entered a frog-jumping contest. Well, technically, I wasn’t the one jumping. I plucked a promising-looking fellow out of a wooden tub, like a yanking a big juicy dill from a pickle barrel. The frog smiled at me with big round eyes, and croaked, “Rip it! Rip it! Here’s your champ!”

I turned him this way and that.  I slowly nodded. Yes, I was certain he would take first prize for the fastest amphibian in the whole shootin’ match. The ref showed us where to put the frogs on their starting blocks. When our opponents were ready,  I set Jumpin’ Jimmy down on the mark for the fifty-inch dash. The ref shouted, “On your marks! Get set! Go!”

But alas, Jumpin’ Jimmy sat back on his laurels (do frogs have laurels?) and took his own froggy time hopping – moseying is  more like it – to the finish line. As I scooped him up, I shook my head and muttered, “Should’ve grabbed a pickle instead. A pickle would’ve been faster.”

I took aside the self-proclaimed champ and fed him a few flies. As the afternoon wore on, I shook our loss off, and got back into the spirit of the game. I picked Jimmy up and whacked him on the back. I gave him an atta boy pep talk. I turned him this way and that, trying to discover his best profile for the front of the next box of Wheaties. Soon, bursting with excitement, Jimmy was all revved up and ready to go for the next event – the broad jump.

(To be continued)

What do you say to yourself after a big loss? What do you say to others after theirs? How do you think Jimmy will do in the broad jump?

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