|We all agree he looks as if he's up to something, right?|
We got the lizard on one of our autumn SkeeBall adventures in Ocean City. Many of out Made-in-China boardwalk treasures are on display around our porch, but the lizard has a place of prominence on my wife's dashboard. Some people have a Jesus, some a hula dancer, some a hula Jesus. It's an aesthetic choice.
Occasionally, I will find the lizard on the floor, indicating my wife has taken a turn too sharply. It's a charge she not only denies, but also returns, claiming I am the one who has abused and endangered the lizard. This is preposterous because I am master of my own inertia, not the other way around. Plus, if there ever happened to be a case where the lizard fell while I was driving (there wasn't, but I'm allowing the possibility as a way of establishing objectivity and credibility), I would have the good sense to return him to his upright position and avoid blame.
Of course, there's always the chance that he, the lizard, is responsible in some way. Maybe he slides slowly from the dash after my wife has parked as a way to undermine my credibility. I do not know how the lizard would benefit from this. If I have to find out the hard way, however, I think things will go poorly for me.
In my cultural experience, if the protagonist is suspicious of an inanimate object plotting against her or him, not only is the protagonist correct, but the inanimate object wins. Victory often comes in the form of a person's actual death. Either a suicide or a freakish, if technically explicable, accident. Sometimes the protagonist is shipped off to a mental hospital where the inanimate object's malice is understood in terms of psychosis rather than as a supernatural event. Tell a million people God told you he has a plan for them, you get a paycheck. Suggest the plastic lizard has ulterior motives, you get a trip to Bellevue. Go figure.
I think the primary failure of many protagonists faced with being tormented by (supposed) inanimate objects, is to assume their hatred is pointed. The lizard doesn't have ulterior motives. He does not hope to affect a particular end by killing me or driving me insane. He is doing it because that is what evil inanimate objects do. By understanding this, I don't need to worry about the "whys" and I can focus on the "whats." If the only what is that my wife occasionally gives me a hard time about taking turns too fast, I can live with that. But, if all of a sudden the lizard is obstructing my view, or I find it anywhere near the gas or break pedals, I'll have to take more drastic steps. They may involve super glue. I don't think I should say any more about it.