He’s Not Roscoe

Posted On May 10, 2024

Each spring Cam sits in his morning reading chair and see’s a friend just outside the window. But Cam won’t give him a name. He absolutely won’t.


My lizard friend is back again. He shows up on the air conditioner every spring just outside the window. He stays there quite a while each morning, arriving about half an hour after sunrise. I sit each morning in my reading chair and keep an eye out for him. And suddenly, he’s there.

I grew up calling these things chameleons. Wikipedia, however, just told me he is a green anole and he is often mistakenly called a chameleon, likely started by pet shop owners who were selling them as something much more exotic than they are. Wikipedia also says his species is “secure”, meaning they are abundant.

My lizard friend is a male. He keeps pushing out his dewlap, his little red throat thingy that they show during mating season, hoping, I suppose to attract some babe lizard due to his remarkably colorful and large dewlap. He sits alone on the air conditioner flexing his dewlap in the hopes that some chick lizard will spot him and be taken with his masculinity and crawl on over for a big moment of lizard passion. At least that’s what I assume he’s doing. In this regard, my lizard friend isn’t too much different than many of the guys I see at the gym.

As a child we’d catch them and scare the girls. My braver friends would catch two and when the lizard tried to bite them, they’d let the lizard bite their earlobe and let it hang. The kids would walk inside with lizards hanging from each ear, find their mothers and say, “Mom. Look at me.” The mothers would see two lizards hanging from their son’s ears and freak out.  “Get those lizards off your ears and get them out of my house!” We loved it. Scaring mothers with bugs and lizards was a big fun part of my childhood.

There’s a part of me that wants to name him, and the name Roscoe keeps coming to mind. However, once you give a name an animal it becomes much closer to being a pet. A friend owns a beef cattle farm and he’s talked to me about how he avoids naming any of his cattle. One may have a big mark on him that makes my friend want to call that cow Spot or Freckles or something, but he resists the urge. My friend knows that one day that cow will be in the cooler for sale, and having to say goodbye Spot or Freckles is, well… He knows not to name them.

Same is true for the lizard outside who might be Roscoe. He has lots of predators looking for him. Birds. Snakes. Larger lizards. I won’t name him because I may be watching him display one morning at the same time a blue jay or mockingbird sees him and suddenly Roscoe’s gone. So I won’t name him, the anonymous lizard who might otherwise be Roscoe. He’s trying so hard out there. Every morning, he and I say hello through the window and he gets to work while I read. He’s a good lizard, Roscoe is, but I won’t name him. I won’t.

I’m Cam Marston. Just trying to Keep It Real.

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Categories: Libsyn2