Don’t Get Gator Bit!

Don’t Get Gator Bit!


Calm waters, but what lies beneath?


I spent Easter weekend in a place where you might hear someone say the words, “Don’t get gator bit.” This colloquial phrase is not a cautionary cliché like, “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” It is not a metaphor. It actually means: be careful not to get mauled and rolled by an alligator.


I don’t know from what part of the world you are reading (aren’t there snakes in sewer drains somewhere, and marauding foxes in London?), but I’ll bet there is precious little as dangerous in your neck of the woods, as an alligator hidden in the mangroves.


Kallie and Lauren and I were in a bar Saturday night. deland3We were waiting for Jon Jon to get home from work. It was my favorite kind of watering hole: a ramshackle shed hanging over a dark Intracoastal Waterway, with a wobbly dock, feral cats underfoot, cold beer and all manner of fried food. We were sitting on the porch (before huge mosquitos discovered our sweet meat) and a six foot alligator floated blithely by like he owned the river (which of course he did). It has me thinking this morning…


Sometimes I feel like I am tiptoeing through a brackish swamp in my everyday. I swear to you I am no longer living on the edge, but it’s like the solid ground is breaking away and no matter how far I step from the cliff, it seems to find me. Which reminds me of earthquakes and I’m more scared of them than large, floating reptiles…



When I left Jon Jon’s car to take this picture, he jokingly shouted, “Don’t get gator bit!” and then I disappeared around a bend and he was like, “Mom?”


The problem with alligators is that they don’t seem to stay put. I live in Florida. These days, I want hard and fast rules for safety. I don’t wade through swamps, but  alligators sun themselves on golf courses and take up residence in the ponds of gated communities. They munch lap dogs and stare ominously from roadside ditches…


Even bears and sharks have the good grace to stay where they belong.


Do I seem uncharacteristically wary? I am for the most part hopeful, but Kim’s having major surgery this morning, and I smashed my phone and Jon Jon drives 45 minutes to work every day and my car is on its last legs and there are countless bars with ice cold beers and welcoming neon and  lightening does strike twice in the same place sometimes…


All I’m saying is be careful out there. Watch where you step. Look twice and say your prayers. Shit happens. And for God’s sakes, don’t get alligator bitten.


It loses something in the translation, doesn’t it?

Today I’m not drinking because I’m being careful…

How come you’re not drinking?