Randy, my Secular Franciscan Montana pal, linked to an article concerning the increasing shortage of people who aspire to be alligator wrestlers. This factoid serves to assuage my fears, albeit in a very small way, that American society is too stoopid to survive.
I recall being perhaps nine or ten years old when my parents decided it would be an interesting break from the long drive to Miami Beach to pull off the road to visit an alligator farm, which I believe was run by the Seminole Indian Tribe.
What an awful place.
If I close my eyes and reflect a moment, I can still smell the stink of the place and the disgusting display of dozens of alligators munching on piles of smelly fish that were tossed onto the banks of the shallow, stinking water in which the beasts languished.
The Big Attraction was the regularly scheduled Alligator Wrestling Show. My parents (probably my mother more so than my father – she was the more adventuresome of the two) thought this would be a good thing to see. I recall having absolutely no desire whatsoever to stand around in the stifling heat to wait for the next show, but I really didn’t have much say in the matter and, besides, they paid for admission to the horrid place with the money they broke their asses to earn during the other fifty weeks in the year.
Finally, it was show time.
The alligator wrestler gave a bit of a spiel about alligators and then proceeded to select one to drag from the disgustingly filthy water onto the sand. The alligator (probably a 10-11 footer) did not want to cooperate, and seemed mightily pissed at having been chosen as the wrestlee. It was doing its damnedest to bite the gator wrestler.
After much thrashing about until the gator wrestler pinned the beast, came the finale – the part where the gator wrestler put his head in the alligator’s mouth while holding its jaws open.
In the article referenced above, the author notes, “Injuries once were commonplace in the gator wrestling arenas, and sometimes were considered an asset.”
That certainly was the case in this stinkhole, because before placing his head inside the gator’s mouth the gator wrestler made sure that we could all see the multiple scars on his face and neck that resulted from the injuries he received the one time the “Head in Mouth” trick didn’t work out exactly right.
I think this part of the act even rattled my adventuresome mother, who probably was worried about the lasting psychic damage that could be done to her nine-year old son if he were to see a gator gobble down the guy’s head, up close and personal.
I’m happy to report that the gator wrestler finished the show with his head intact, but mine was scarred for life as a result of that little side trip to that gator shithole.