Molesting Animals


A baby sting ray in a tide pool I tormented for a while yesterday…


In Florida, it is an unwritten rule (actually it is written) that you are not supposed to “molest” manatees, or sea turtle hatchlings, or alligators or any of God’s creatures. In other words, you are to leave them alone and you are not to try to feed them or help them migrate or take photos with them cradled in your arms or tucked lovingly in the palm of your hand (baby sea turtles are really, really cute…).


I have molested animals while in my cups. Whew, now I said it and I feel better.


Once, when my house was being built in Marsh Landing (I used to take a cooler and sit on the unfinished balcony and drink cold wine and think great thoughts when the workmen left at 4 o’clock), I spotted manatees in the Intracoastal, just off the break-wall. I was so excited I ran out to the water dragging a hose with a trigger nozzle. I had read that manatees like to drink fresh water.


Manatees are nature’s most gullible behemoths, and they rolled onto their backs and floated close enough for me to see the boat motor scars. I was like, “Hi! You are such good manatees. Want some fresh water?” and I shot the big one in the face with a stream so violent it could take mold off stucco (which is what the workmen had set it to do…). The manatee gave me a look like, “Et tu lady? WTF,” rolled over, called its calf and lumbered away from the crazy woman with a plastic wine glass in one hand and a torture device in the other. I’m sure the ancient, survival mechanisms were firing dimly, “Boat motors bad; blondes on break-walls bad..”


Then there was the time I was hung over and walking five miles from Mikler’s Landing (a wine shooter warming in my backpack), and I saw something moving slowly on the sand in the distance. When I got close enough, I ascertained it was a straggler sea turtle baby, making its way to the Atlantic. It looked like one of those old guys who crawl across the marathon finish line – kind of a loser, exhausted, but determined. I watched it for a while. The poor thing got to the water’s edge and a wave hit it and knocked it onto the sand. It rolled like a manatee shot with a water hose.


In Florida there are crazy, zealots who protect sea turtles. I looked around thinking someone with binoculars might be hiding in the saw-grass, and then I picked him up (I had named him Stewart) and threw him into the pocket between waves. Stewart rode the wave like a trooper and came rolling back onto the shore. I couldn’t stand it. He wasn’t even trying. So I gave him a pep-talk, heaved him as far as I could into the sea and did not look back. He was on his own.


Jon Jon and I tried to molest an alligator snapping turtle once. It was lying in the road with a sharp snoot and a crushed shell. When I tried to pick it up, the shell was squishy and I was wondering what it was, until a work truck screeched to a halt and a guy shouted, “LADY! PUT THAT DOWN! IT WILL TAKE YOUR HAND OFF!” Who’s molesting who?


I could go on. There were the baby squirrels that rained from a faulty nest onto our pool deck, the ailing bat that revived in the night and tangled itself in Lauren’s hair when she ventured into the kitchen for a midnight snack, the milk snake in the wine cellar rafters…


And drunk or sober I will not leave a box turtle in the middle of the road, doomed as it tries to cross. If that is molestation, so be it.


Oh yeah, Lucky is safe now…


Have a wonderful, safe, sober, molestation-free holiday.

Does that sound boring to anybody else???

Today I’m not drinking because I am rescuing (not molesting) God’s creatures…


How come you’re not drinking?