Whenever you write a book you always end up with a few chapters that you love that your editor suggests you cut and most of the time you argue about it until one of you caves. This was one of those chapters from Furiously Happy and it was one of my favorites but it had to be cut both because the book was already too long and also because most everyone who read it was like, “What the fuck is a horny toad?” I assumed that’s because all the people who read it were from New York but then I went on twitter and asked people if they knew what a horny toad was and 90% of them were like, “Uh…Overly sensual frogs?” and 10% were like, “Sure. Those mostly extinct lizards that were all over in the 70’s that squirt blood out of their eyes and sleep on you?” and then the other 90% were like, “WHAT? Are you guys high right now?” And yes, most of us were, but that’s not the point.
The point is that if horny toads were not endangered this chapter might have been relevant enough to be in the book, but since they are almost extinct I had to cut this chapter. But I still think I should share it because this is a good lesson in why we need to protect endangered animals. Because otherwise it makes book-writing more difficult for me. And other reasons, probably.
So here is a bonus chapter that never got published for those of you who loved, or have yet to discover Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.
The 40th Argument I Had With Victor This Week:
Me: LOOK! I FOUND A HORNY TOAD! I THOUGHT THEY WERE ALL EXTINCT!
Victor: That’s not a horny toad.
Me: The fuck it isn’t.
Victor: Horny toads are rounder. That’s a Texas Spiny Lizard. You can buy them at the pet store. Horny toads are endangered. That’s why you never see them anymore.
Me: Huh. You know what else you never see anymore? Tumbleweeds. Where have all the tumbleweeds gone? I can only assume they’re with the horny-toads. Here’s a thought: Maybe horny toads eat tumbleweeds. That would explain a lot.
Victor: Not really.
Me: Remember when you were a kid and you’d find horny toads all over the place and then paralyze them by rubbing their bellies and then they’d fall asleep in your hands like teeny lizard baby dolls?
Me: And then your mom would yell, “Take that horny toad outside before it squirts eye blood all over the carpet!” and you’d be like “Calm the shit down, mom. I’ve paralyzed it with my love.”
Me: Well, you obviously didn’t say the last part out loud because you’d get slapped.
Victor: No. I mean, I don’t think a lizard ever spit blood out of its eyes at me.
Me: Really? Are you sure you’re really from Texas?
Victor: Well, I recognized what wasn’t a horny toad, so yeah...I think I just passed my citizenship test.
Me: It makes me sad that horny toads aren’t around any more. I want to find some and start breeding with them.
Victor: Questionable phrasing.
Me: Frankly, I don’t understand why people aren’t breeding horny toads all the time. They’re obviously already aroused.
Victor: You do realize that “horny” is really short for “horned ” because of the spikes all over their bodies, right?
Me: Well, I still don’t understand why they aren’t having sex as much as they used to. Although, it would probably be hard to mount someone who had jagged spikes all over her. God. No wonder they’re so horny.
Victor: Again, that doesn’t mean-
Me: Oh, and they’re really easily paralyzed when you rub their tummies so they probably get stunned during sex all the time. Stunned and stabbed. No one wants that. That sounds like the worst porno ever.
Me: OMG, we should make tiny little sweater-vests for them. And maybe some lizard cologne to get them in the mood.
Victor: You’ve thought way too much about this.
Me: And special lighting. MOOD LIGHTING. And I’d teach the horny toads to strut. I’d be like “Work it, girl!”
Victor: I don’t think lizards have anything to work.
Me: Well, I’d say it anyway to build up their self-esteem. Because confidence is sexy.
Me: They need my help, Victor. Those horny toads are a hot mess right now and they need to get their shit together. And I can help them. Maybe give them tiny hats? Like bonnets for girls and Stetsons for boys. Or vice versa. I don’t want to encourage stereotypes. Just whatever keeps them from stabbing each other in the neck when they’re snogging.
Victor: You’re totally high right now, aren’t you?
Me: If I were high I’d physically try to mate them like you do with Barbie and Ken dolls. But instead I’m just going to give them all the tools and be like, “I did this for you so don’t fuck it up, okay? Make some babies, yo.” I just need some horny toads. I’d be like, “HEY LIZARDS: LET ME HELP YOU HELP YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU’RE RUINING LIZARDS FOR EVERYONE.”
Victor: For everyone?
Me: Well, for some of us. I miss the horny toads. I have sad lizard nostalgia. And our daughter will never know what it’s like to paralyze a lizard that can shoot blood out of its eyes.
Victor: So, you want to dress lizards up in sweater-vests for humanitarian reasons?
Me: I’M DOING IT FOR THE CHILDREN, VICTOR.
Victor: Got it. Going to sleep now.
Me: Remind me in the morning to learn how to knit.
Victor: I’ll get right on that.
PS. He totally did not remind me. Luckily though, I sent myself a voicemail saying, “DON’T FORGET TO FIND OUT HOW TO KNIT TINY SWEATERS SO LIZARDS CAN HAVE SEX BETTER” but then I forgot about it until I realized that I had 32 voicemails, and when I checked them in the movie theater during the previews I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off of speaker-mode so I got some weird looks, but then I explained “I’m a scientist” and then people looked less alarmed. I assume. I stopped looking because I didn’t want to have to deal with follow-up questions, and because at that same moment it occurred to me that maybe it’s not just a matter of the horny toad dudes not wanting to get stabbed in the junk. Maybe it’s also because horny toad newborns come out with full spikes and that would probably wreck a vagina. So probably after one baby the mama lizard is like, “Hey, you know what? We’re good. One is plenty.” I don’t know how to solve this, but I think it involves lizard-vaginoplasty.
Winner: No one wins when awesome lizards keep halving their population every generation. That’s just bad lizard math.
UPDATED: Shout-out to everyone who shared this with me today:
They’re so cute I just want to eat them up. Which would be counter-intuitive and is not to be taken literally.