Alligator Allie

Our friends from around the country are all contacting us, concerned for our welfare here in Florida. Watching the national news has everyone convinced that we’re in a life-and-death struggle with an exploding alligator population. Well, I’m glad to say we’re just fine. Actually, it’s the alligators that are in danger. No, the Red Tide isn’t getting them and neither is the pesticides leaching into the water from our lawns. It’s another outbreak of Severe Media Frenzy.

It all started with some of the local newspaper editors skipping their medication. And then at the National Convention of Headline Writers, a group of college kids slipped some concentrated Hysteria into the water supply. Right after the writers got back to work, (on a slow news day) three women in separate incidents were attacked by alligators, making the perfect storm of journalism.

First, let me tell you about the attacks. One woman went snorkeling at dusk, which is feeding time for gators, presenting herself as dinner. The second woman sat on a low trestle bridge dangling her feet inches above the waterline. We all know alligators love toes, so she was a goner, feet first, so to speak. The third woman was luckier. She was watering her flowers when a gator mistook her hose for a snake and went after it. She whacked him in the snout with the nozzle and he took off. The other non-story contributing to the hype is about all the pets that are disappearing. Again, this is being blamed on your friendly neighborhood alligator. The press, of course, ignores the fact that pets will travel thousands of miles to return to their original home. And they have also been ignoring all the dogs and cats that are walking along I-75 on their way back to Ohio.

And now, every time some loveable gator pops his head out of the water and gives someone a toothy smile, they panic and call the Alligator Police. My buddy Al, who is a licensed trapper, has been pulling about 20 gators a day out of the lakes. The TV crews are eating it up, filming Al at every chance.  You’ve probably seen him on TV or on the Internet. One IQ-challenged anchor breathlessly told the TV audience that Al was so busy during this alligator insurgency that he had a backlog of 39 sightings to respond to. I quickly did the math and that came out to two days work. Wow!

At this rate, unless some real news distracts the press, the Florida alligators will soon make the Endangered Species list. With mosquitoes now almost non-existent in Florida, the only pests left will be the over-the-top news reporters.