After reading the letter Patrick Benjamin received recently, I was reminded of something unusual I found in my mailbox a few months ago. I’m not sure how this “environmental organization” got my address. The only thing I can figure is that it has something to do with my Sierra Club membership and my recent interest in adopting a wolf; although I doubt the Sierra Club would share my information with such an organization. Upon opening the envelope I found this cover letter, which accompanied a set of personalized address labels adorned with pictures of various types of amphibians (frogs and such) and a notepad that at the top of each page reads simply, “Amphibians are people too.” There was also a self-addressed stamped envelope made out to The Amphibian Society Society.
Did you know that even though Earth’s amphibian population has existed for over 400 million years, since the late nineteenth century it has experienced a drastic decrease in numbers? Were you also aware that some amphibians suffer racial bias, such as Caecilians in the Amazon Basin, whom insensitive people sometimes derogatorily call “penis snakes?”
We are very happy to hear of your interest in the promotion of animal rights. Therefore, I am writing you today in the name of the Amphibian Society Society, a sixteen-year-old, privately funded, global institution committed to the protection and life-enhancement of amphibians worldwide.
The Amphibian Society Society encompasses the Society of Amphibians—the over ten billion individual amphibians on the Earth today (spanning over 5,000 species!)—in addition to fifty-two kind-hearted humans headquartered in Washington DC, USA, and involved in the promotion of research stations all over the world.
We here at the Amphibian Society Society believe in the individual rights of each and every amphibian, and we attempt to speak for our smooth and glutinous brothers and sisters of the Society of Amphibians—from the smallest Japanese Gecko in a plastic fish tank co-habitating your home to the Chinese Giant Salamander endemic to the rocky mountain streams and lakes of Central and Southern China.
If you are concerned about the standing of an amphibious family member, you’ll be relieved to know that all amphibians are born into membership in both the Society of Amphibians and the Amphibian Society Society, and will receive full benefits as soon as they or a loved one registers with us.
Though we realize some of our members may not always get along, as when Hellbenders eat other, smaller versions of themselves, or when starving researchers along the Amazon Basin must resort to a meal of brave, roasted Caecilians, we at the Amphibian Society Society do not feel the need to intervene in the Society of Amphibians. Instead, we are most interested in the scientific study, research, and promotion of the amphibian species, and are currently working on advancements we believe will better the lives of the whole Society of Amphibians, and of the Amphibian Society Society.
Even as you read this we are developing a concrete algorithm that will let us compare ages across species, including a method to compare amphibian years to human years, as well as the ages of individual amphibians to the ages of other animals, and a way to compare ages across amphibian species—all of which will help us gain great knowledge in the psychological development, mid-life crises, and senility and potential dementia of amphibians. (We have already found that a one-year-old Blue-Tailed Fire-Bellied Newt is actually almost twenty in human years, and nearly two-and-a-half in Gold Dust Day Gecko reptilian years! If you have ever wondered how old your co-habitating Northern Leopard Frog is compared to your co-habitating American Bullfrog, or even how old the Poison Dart Frog outside your window is compared to your pet border collie, we will soon have equations that will solve those problems and more.)
Concerning our research, it should be said that we at the Amphibian Society Society do not believe gene splicing to be an inherently evil notion, and our members should not worry about the recent vandalism or protests in and around our offices. Perhaps you yourself have developed envy for cold-blooded creatures and their special characteristics, such as living parts of life underwater, or the abilities to wrangle meals with one’s tongue, to breath through one’s skin, and to lay eggs and give birth to over fifty offspring at a time. Well, take heart, because we would like to make amphibious humans a reality. Additionally, our research into Caecilians has resulted in exciting new prospects to help the blind navigate everyday environments or to help quad-amputees rediscover independent mobility!
Unfortunately, because of political, scientific, and trans-species biases, we have as yet been unable to acquire any research grants. Because of this, the Amphibian Society Society relies heavily on our sponsors. If you would like to make a donation, please find us online or mail checks or money orders directly. Those giving over $100 will receive a free bucket of live crickets and a book detailing methods for teaching your amphibious family members tricks and stunts to impress all your friends. Those giving over $1,000 will be eligible to be among the first to receive and fully experience amphibious alterations.
On behalf of Amphibians everywhere, thank you,
Director of Human Relations
The Amphibian Society Society
1425 K St NW, #705b
Washington, DC 20005
Chris Black lives with his wife in Los Angeles. He is a former associate editor at Black Clock and wrote feature articles on rubber duck races, birds of prey, and other mountain topics for The Vail Trail weekly.