The other night I saw a spot on a paranormal TV show that apparently ran out of anything supernatural to talk about. Instead, it showed a few videos of real events that could make you say “OMG.” In fact, that was part of the title of the episode.
One of them was a surveillance video of a Florida man saving his puppy’s life by wrestling with an alligator. While the Florida man was walking his dog, somehow it managed to escape its leash and plunged into a pond.
The pond was full of gators and one grabbed the puppy. Florida man jumped into the water and wrestled with the gator, which was actually not much bigger than the pup. The guy had a cigar in his mouth before the fracas. And he still had it during the desperate struggle. Even after he ducked underwater, he burst out—still clenching the cigar in his teeth.
The little gator still clenched the puppy, which was limp initially, but came back to life and cried pathetically while Florida man pried apart the jaws of the reptile, eventually freeing the dog (which got puncture wounds or a crushed rib cage depending on which version of the narrative you believe, the paranormal TV show or the TV news video).
I keep calling the guy “Florida man” because the TV news broadcast on YouTube with a few comments about how dangerous a Florida man (or almost any Florida resident) can be, even to a gator. You can get a better sense of the bias leading to jokes about Floridians by reading New York Times bestselling author Dave Barry’s book, “Best State Ever: A Florida Man Defends his Homeland.”
The only way that video would have been more spectacular is if a full-grown gator had clenched Florida man, the little gator, and the puppy—with just the cigar poking out of big daddy gator’s jaws. It could have happened. The pond was full of the reptiles. OMG!
We’ve seen Florida gators. I think tour guides steered us clear of Florida man.
Update: Selwyn Birchwood’s song “Florida Man.”