Toads in a Pot
Forget the Frogs in the Pan
Check out the cute little toads outside the window of a small beachside cottage located far away in a remote habitation. Where, I shall not say. Too soon the developers will arrive to turn it into another crusty scab of development oozing from the unstoppable rash of Growth at Any Cost.
The old tired cliche of the frogs in the frying pan has been dead for a long time and has never been empirically tested anyway. Per the article, it seems biologists think the frog will indeed jump out at some point. After all, if you were in the pan wouldn’t you? The frog has no less an exquisite self-preservation system.
But how about toads in a pot with sides too high to jump out? That’s more like it.
The metaphor is constructed thus: start with a few toads in the pot. A gentle warming heat is applied from a glowing radiant ball of energy. Toads are happy! When it’s too cold, they don’t want to do much but with just the right amount of heat, mmmm perfect day at the spa. Let’s assume a nice supply of insects flitting about.
As the toads multiply, though, it gets harder and harder to move around. They start to pile up on top of each other.
The pile starts to get so dense that entire generations of toad hatch from eggs laid on the backs of toads below, and those at the top of the pile of course have more access to the flying insects, getting bigger! Stronger! Better in All Ways!
Their uneaten fragments and feces drop onto the toads below who will eat anything, “those worthless lazy ones living in the shithole regions of the cauldron,” sayeth the Top Toads. “Because we are at the top we must get Bigger and Fatter so we can catch even more insects and shit even more, else the Bottom Toads won’t have enough to eat!”
Topmost Toad says “Not only that, but there are so many of us, we need more room. I think I see more space - if we could only reach it. We need more and more effort from those toads below us so we can get up there. After all, we’re feeding them so they should do their part to get we Toads to the top!”
The pile gets denser and denser, higher and higher. Airflow and convection no longer dissipate the warm radiance that nurtured the early toads and at the densest lowest layers toads start to die from heat. No jumping out of a pan for them.
Top Toads get bigger and fatter, they eat and shit more and more, the pile grows, denser and denser, hotter and hotter. Layers of cooked toad are covered with layers of writhing shit-eating toads, and on top of those are the ones who get the larger insect crumbs dropped by the Top Toads, and the pile gets higher and higher. There is a mad mad scramble for bits and pieces, jockeying for position, trying to get some relief from heat, among the lower reaches of toaddom.
Then One Day:
The Topmost Toad is high enough on the pile to jump out of the pot! Then a few more! And then some more until the ones that are left can no longer jump out.
Success! New frontiers, a limitless landscape of even prettier pots! Of course it will take a huge GINORMOUS effort to get into those pots, but after all these are the Best, Brightest Top Toads, superior in all ways and able to surmount even the highest pot’s walls through sheer intelligence, grit, and determination.
What about the rest of the toads? There are too few insects, what with the excess heat and all. The lower toads are ever more and more agitated and frantic chasing after remaining fragments of food and feces. The pile has reached the limits of growth, there are too few resources for any toads to reach the top again. Their dense mass will trap all of the once-nurturing radiance until the end.
What are you going to do about it? Here’s a list of resources you can use to get informed, get engaged, and get active.
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