Richard And Gunner vs the State of Florida

Back in 2019 I threatened to answer the following question in an upcoming post:

What the heck is the Florida Man game?

Sadly, I immediately forgot all about answering that question. Months went by. But then, a few weeks ago, I ran across an unusual headline emanating from Florida. Happily, the headline jogged my memory about the Florida Man game. Sadly, I soon forgot all about the unusual headline and also my failure to write about the Florida Man game. A couple of weeks went by. I happened to gaze at a map of Florida. Happily, I suddenly remembered the unusual headline and my failure to write about the Florida Man game. But sadly, I had forgotten about an appointment I had to go to. Happily, I made it to the appointment, remembered where I lived, was able to return home where I immediately recalled the unusuaI headline, my inability to write about the Florida Man game and the fact that since my last post was on November third I needed to get my ass in gear. I began to type feverishly…

This is what I typed:

The Florida Man game/thing has been around since 2013. Back then it wasn’t a card game. Now it is:

But back in 2013 it was just a quasi-viral “thing” . OK, OK. Meme. It was a meme that involved typing the words “Florida Man”, together with your birth month and day, into a search engine to see what weird, random news item would come back concerning Florida. To me it was simply something to pass the time if you were bored or when you got tired of complaining about issues such as why there are only three seasons of The Norsemen.

In case you were wondering, The Norsemen is a comedy series about the doings of Vikings, set in the village of Norheim, Norway, in 790 AD. It’s gory, politically incorrect, irreverent but also loaded with laugh-out-loud irony, understatement, deadpan delivery, complex hair-braiding and anachronistic references.

Olav and Freya wondering what happened to Season Four of The Norsemen

When I started watching The Norsemen I would tell people that it’s something the Monty Python crew would have written: if they were Norwegian. Subsequently, I learned that this thought had already occurred to Julia Raeside in 2017, writing for The Guardian. She described The Norsemen series as “Monty Python Meets Game of Thrones”. This bummed me out a fair bit.

Anyway, if you want to watch this series, go on NetFlix and search up “The Norsemen”. You don’t need to put The Norsemen in quotes though. I don’t know why I did that just now. Putting things “in quotes” is probably an overused literary device.

Where was I? Yes! The Florida Man game! My memory just isn’t what it used to be, dang it! And before we move on, I have to remind you that getting scooped, overuse of literary devices and failing memory all lead to the eventual decline and ultimate downfall of many writers. Did I forget to mention repetition?

Ultimate downfall aside, when I typed Florida Man into Google along with my birth day and month, this headline popped up:

The bird turned out to be a pet cassowary which turned on its owner, Marvin Hajos, when Hajos accidentally fell to the ground in the enclosure. Sadly, Mr. Hajos died in hospital from his injuries. I am not trying to make light of Mr. Hajos’ demise here. It’s just that weird things tend to happen in Florida. I don’t know why. Ask Dave Barry. He wrote a book on the topic.

Enough about Dave. What about Eric Slovak? Eric is the holder of a PhD in Understatement from the University of Bergen in Bergen, Noway, and he is also the assistant curator of birds at the National Zoo in Washington. Slovak had this to say about the cassowary:

” It’s just kind of a big, 200-pound, 6-foot bird roaming around eating fruit all day.”

Don’t quote me on the PhD bit. It’s probably Fake Credentials.

Cassowary scanning its environment for fruit

Cassowaries DO eat a lot of fruit, including “cassowary plums”. Dang it! There I go again. Why did I put cassowary plums in quotes? I don’t even know what a cassowary plum is.

Cassowaries eat lots of other things besides plums: insects and other creatures that fall into the “invertebrate” category, small mammals, carrion, acorns, feces and carelessly-discarded ingots of pure tungsten. I am not making 84% of that up. 17% is made up. Ignore rounding errors.

These birds can display disturbing tendencies when they are startled or feel threatened. The disturbing tendencies include slashing you wide open with their long, deadly sharp toe-claws or kicking you off a cliff with their large, deadly, strong feet. Otherwise, cassowaries are shy and reclusive.

Just be very wary of the cassowary. That’s all I’m saying.

And also, please be wary of letting your small pet dog wander off leash in Florida. Especially if you and the dog are near any body of water including but not limited to: lakes, ponds, mud puddles, your birdbath or large upright tractor tires cradling a few inches of standing water.

There is a non-zero probability that an alligator will dart out of that water, wherever it happens to be located, snatch your dog in its powerful jaws, and scoot back from whence it came. If your name is Richard Wilbanks, your dog’s name will be Gunner. You will have been retired for years. You may have been a wrestler. I don’t know. Nevertheless, you will unhesitatingly wade after the alligator with a cigar firmly clenched in your teeth. You will submerge, seize Gunner, who is still dangling from the alligator’s powerful jaws, wade ashore with the cigar still firmly clenched in your teeth, pry Gunner loose from the alligator, and watch that $5000 dog rocket away like it is a slug of pure tungsten that has been shot out of a kinetic energy weapon. Then you will go back to your house, dripping water and blood. Your wife will comment on the need to get Gunner to the vet as soon as possible. She may also point out that you are getting water all over the kitchen floor and that you should know better after 74 years.

After Gunner gets his stitches and things settle down, I suggest you kick back, light up a fresh, dry, and richly-deserved cigar. Reflect on another routine day in Florida. Watch some TV. I hear “The Norsemen” is pretty good.

Author:

Dave Barry fan and Medical Director at Rocky Mountain Analytical