Concerning Bearded Dragons

How my pet dragon validates my existence

Daniel Williams
Human Parts
Published in
11 min readApr 11, 2021


image by author

My sister-in-law and her family went on a trip recently and asked us to care for her daughter’s bearded dragon.

This dragon, a green guy with brown eyes, is still a youth, about seven inches long from the nose to the tip of his tail, though in 18 months he’ll swell to the size of a Tyrannosaurus-rex arm, one you can take out walking with a leash.

While he stayed with us, he lived in a big glass box on our buffet cabinet in the dining room. This changed our mealtimes slightly. Eating in the presence of a reptile makes you feel a little wild. You eat faster and too much. You eat like a beast, loosening your belt as you shed your humanity, showing off for the dragon.

I am Dan, demolisher of breakfast. Subduer of lunch. I approach, and supper trembles.

My wife, son, and I didn’t remember the dragon’s name, so we set to work naming him:

I said, “What about Hank? Or Frank? No wait, Carl!” because I think all pets should be named after dads from the ’50s, names that say, “Hank loves you, he just can’t say it.” It makes me laugh:

Frank the kitten. Carl the lizard.

My wife said, “We could call him Another Mouth To Feed.”

But it was our boy, Sawyer, who won: “He should be Dr. Connors,” the name of a villain in Spider-Man, a scientist who turns into a lizard named Lizard.

We liked it.

So the little dragon became Dr. Connors.

At first, I didn’t think there was much to him. He stood on his flat rock under the glow of a heat lamp and didn’t move. It was eerie how still he could be. He didn’t seem alive until you looked closely and saw that his little spiky sides were moving in and out slowly with his breathing.

photo by Mindy

I began to respect Dr. Connors for the way he breathed. Not only was he as still as a holy man on a journey far from his body, soaring the astral plane, but he breathed as slowly and deeply as I wish I could. Once in a while, I remember to fill my…



Daniel Williams
Human Parts

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman by night. Illustrator and writing teacher by day. Previously: McSweeney’s, Slackjaw.