Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Octa-Cide, or Jeepers Creepers, Geezers!

Way back when, way back to my days of green gullibility, back when I was filled with romantic nonsense and all aglow with naive moonshine . . . well, anyway, way back a year or so ago. . .

. . . I once foolishly assumed that with age came peace; that as a person grew older they gradually left impulsive and rash behavior behind and settled into some sort of golden bliss. With years and experience, I reasoned, came maturity and wisdom; with age came a cooling of a once-fiery soul. And as animal passions chilled and the libido mellowed, I surmised, reason would at last gain the throne and tranquility would reign supreme.

Well, Bull Whack! From my observations down here at Senior Sentral, more people than not seem to grow old not only disgracefully, but disgustingly. . . .

The other night, over at some miserable swamp clearing in central Florida, seems Doris and Chester Smith had a tiff.  Nothing unusual here; what couple doesn’t have a spat now and again? Well, this little argument escalated until the wife grabbed a knife and let her hub have the biz end . . . again and again. When cops finally arrived they found Chester dead as a mackerel in the moonlight and Doris “distraught and disoriented.”

Now, awful as it may seem, even a spousal misunderstanding that ends in murder is not  that big a deal here in depression-era Florida. One or two seem to happen every day. What makes this incident noteworthy is that Doris is 87-years-old and her husband, now newly deceased, was 93!  My God! Is there no limit? Are some humans murderous all their existence? Now, I am assuming that Doris did not kill Chet for his insurance money (what would an 87-year-old woman do with sudden wealth? Go to Vegas? Buy a new boat or sports car? Party. party, party?) And so, the only answer I can come up with that makes any sense is that Doris was a victim of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse! At that late stage--180 years of cumulative living--and two people, with virtually all four feet in the grave, yet still fighting and resorting to violence as if they were empty-headed teens.

If ever there was a case for quickie divorces in this country, this is it. Imagine: A man seven years short of the century mark working over his 87-year-old wife! How did he even find the strength to beat her? And why did she not flee from him, or, in this case, why did she not just creep from him on her walker or in her wheel chair? If this has been going on for long, why did they not just get a friggen divorce three score and four ago?

Horrible. . . .

Over at Boca Raton the other day, several local trouble-makers were playing a game of eight ball at the Palm Beach Country Club. When tempers flared an argument erupted. Grabbing for something to throw, one of the thugs, David Hartstein, found some pool balls handy and bounced a few off the skull of one brawler. When another hoodlum stepped in for his friend he too received a couple of conks on the cocoanut, just for good measure.

When the riot squad arrived Hartstein was charged with “aggravated battery with a deadly weapon” and taken to jail. The two knot-headed victims were wheeled away to the hospital for treatment. David Hartstein is 62-years-old. His two victims are 92 and 80!

Unbelievable.  . . .

Another young demon, 61-year-old Edward Frederick Glowitz of here in Englewood, was in a foul mood the other night.  Actually, like the pit bulls he probably owns, and the meth-addicted wife he probably beats, Ed Fred is always in a foul mood. Tonight, the more beer the outlaw biker guzzled at the Time Out biker bar, the more pissed off Ed became with life, the world in general, and a fellow biker in particular. Anyway, the verbal spat quickly ratcheted to a physical spat and Ed Fred threw a punch (which missed), then tossed a bar stool (which didn’t). Now thoroughly roused, Ed finally broke through several booze bags trying to break up the fight and managed to grab by the throat the object of his rage. What followed was pretty gruesome.

No mention on how old the victim was but whatever his age, he got a beating he would never forget. The beater first knocked the beatee down behind the bar. Then, as he straddled him, the attacker ripped off a soap dispenser from the counter and hit the man over and over again in the face and on the head. The dispenser finally shattered. Grabbing an empty wine bottle, Glowitz continued the vicious assault until that too finally broke.

With the victim now unconscious, Ed heard that the barkeep had called 911 and he decided to seek safer surroundings. His Harley didn’t get him very far, however, before he was arrested without incident and escorted to jail. Never a note if the victim died with his boots on or if he lived to drink another day.

Stuff like the above, as well as the great many childish-acting old people I see all around, convinces me that some folks may indeed mellow with age but for most, young fools become old fools and homicidal maniacs in childhood are generally homicidal maniacs in fossilhood.

Depressing. . . .

But anyway, about the same time, up the road a bit from this island, 77-year-old life-long rageaholic Walter Crosby was boiling with (what else?) more red rage. Seems a former friend’s wife had stolen--or criminally borrowed--a bracelet from Walt’s wife. Sitting in his trailer, ready to explode over the incident, Crosby finally grabbed his pistol, pointed his wheelchair toward the door, then disappeared into the night, rolling away for some old time revenge. Walt Crosby was coming to town . . . and hell was coming with him. To Walt’s Old West way of thinking, sometimes a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do and sometimes a man has to stand up--or in this case, sit down--for what he believes in. One can almost hear the theme song to High Noon wafting in the background.

Rolling his wheelchair up to the thievin’ varmint’s house, Walter, in no uncertain terms, angrily demanded return of the jewelry. When the accused mocked the old coot and refused to cough up, Crosby whipped out his six-gun and began blazing away. Between steering his wheel chair through the house and trying to aim at the flying targets, Walt missed his marks every time. When cops finally arrived on the scene they arrested Walter “Hell-on-Wheels” Crosby without incident. The culprit now sits in the county calaboose without bond.

Amazing. . . .

Over on the wrong side of the state, over on the Kosher Coast, Bartolo Gelsomino was just a hankering for a heap-big hamburger.  How hungry was Bart for a hamburger?  Well, he apparently was starving to death.  So. . . .

When Gelsomino yelled at the old lady to whip him up a burger, and make it snappy, Ana told Bart to get off his lazy ass and fix it himself.  Since these were not the words a starving maniac wanted to hear, nor were these words spoken in a manner a starving maniac wanted them spoken, Bart got off his lazy ass, walked to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, then killed his wife.  With that little matter out of the way, Bart went to work on that hamburger he so ravenously craved. 

Once his hamburger hunger had been thoroughly sated, Bart realized he might be in a bit of trouble for stabbing Ana to death.  Although the sassy bitch had it coming, unless he thought fast, Bart reasoned, that could prove one expensive hamburger.  And so, the hub tore the hell out of the kitchen, trying to make it look like a burglar had been extremely hungry for a burger as he was burglarizing the place and when Ana had refused to fry him that burger the burglar had gone burger bonkers.  Bart would tell the cops he had seen it all. They would never guess, right? 

Well, in near record time--maybe 10 seconds or less--the case of the “Bungled Burger Burglary” was solved and Bart the mastermind murderer now lays on his lazy ass in jail facing a Murder Two rap.  The chow is gratis now, of course, courtesy of the county, but there are, alas, no hamburgers on the prison menu.  Poor fellow.

Bartolo Gelsomino is 79 and counting.  Bart’s ex-wife, Ana, was, is, and will always remain, 71 forever.

Incredible. . . .

Down at Key West--or maybe Key East, I forget which--69-year-old Juan Zigler entered his local post office and handed the clerk a note.  Because the writing on the message was as scrambled as the writer’s brain it was hard for the baffled employee to figure out just what in hell Juan wanted.  The note did say something about “blowing up the Keys” if certain demands were not met so maybe the senior senor thought he was in a bank and was trying to extort some bingo money.  Whatever, the angry old coot tossed a firecracker with a wire and a hearing aid battery attached to it over the counter.  Nothing happened, of course, and men in white soon escorted JZ to his padded cell without further incident.  Seems the senile terrorist was unsure exactly who or what he wanted to terrorize.  And so. . . .

Whatever, whether Juan is certifiably crazy or just ballz-to-the-wallz nutz, Big Brother has almost no wiggle room when it comes to terroristic threats and a federal funny farm seems the next and last stop for this crazed Florida coot.

A Final Note on Florida Fams--Maybe Mother’s Day will be a bit quieter this year than it was last year up at Lakeland.  God knows it was a total bust in ’13.  Back then, or thereabouts, Bill Pennnypacker got all boozed up, then decided to vent a bit on his crummy childhood by killing his ma.  After slugging her in the face for a few, the son pulled out a pistol and shot her in the shoulder.  Somehow mom managed to find her own gat, then opened up herself.  Sonny’s aim was not so hot; mom’s shootin’ was on the spot.  Bill is now 64 for ever.  And as for his 87-year-old mom?  Nancy’s shoulder is still sore but she’s good to go. Guess blood ain’t so thick after all.  Happy Murder’s Day.

Another Final Note on Florida Fams--Down Charlotte Harbor at Fort Myers, seems Calvin Crow had just about had it with his step-son, Craig.  Not only was the lad a totally debauched drunk, but he was a self-centered lazy loser--a “damned moocher,” said not-so-cool Cal.  Seems the young wastrel did little more than lie around, eat, sleep, and hit the jug.  And so, one day, during a hyper-heated argument, Cal just pulled out a pistol and busted a bunch of caps into Craig. 

Cal’s days as a free man are over, of course.  Even if he gets a mere slap on the wrist—say a year or two--Crow will probably never play bingo or catch that early bird special again since at age 87, Old Crow (sorry, couldn’t resist) pretty much has both his feet and half his body already in the grave.  And as for the step-son, the good news, I guess, is that the boy will survive.  Here’s hoping that at age 66 Craig sobers up, gets a job, meets a nice girl, then turns his life around.

Lord!  Such is life among the seniles and the savages . . . never dull down here in the swamps (shake head—roll eyes—grimace) . . . never dull.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Modern Mature Motoring, or “Confusion in Paradise”

Down here at Senior Sentral, down here in the swampy southern section of the Sunshine State, down here one never assumes anything.  For example, when navigating Florida parking lots, whether afoot or abike, your chronicler of murder, mayhem, madness, and more is as nervous as a roach in a flashlight factory.


Well, as a quick example, not so very long ago this elderly couple—let’s call ‘em Ruth and Roy—seems Roy and Ruth stopped at a local grocery store and while Ruth unhitched her walker Roy screwed around in the car trying to remember how to turn the infernal contraption off. As she was passing slowly behind the vehicle, one of the legs of Ruth’s walker slipped on something—a pebble, a grain of sand, a molecule, who but someone a million years old using a walker could slip on anything in a parking lot?-- causing Ruth to fall. Well, since he was so preoccupied looking for the car keys the addled husband naturally didn’t see his wife disappear.  And, of course, since he couldn’t find the keys to turn the damned thing off, Roy naturally chose this moment . . . to back up. Now, rolling over something similar in size and shape to a large log might cause most folks to stop and check it out; but not old Roy, not he. And again—and in the face of all logic--Instead of continuing backwards, Roy now suddenly found a forward gear and decided to drive over the “log” once more. Had not arm-waving passersby stopped him, the husband might well have remained in that parking lot all day, rolling backwards and forwards over his dead wife.

That’s why!

One must be on one's toes sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, 24/7/365.  Never assume while walking in a store parking lot here in South Florida that the driver of a car backing up sees you.  If it's a geezer behind the wheel, odds are heavy they do not see you and will not ever see you until a cop knocks on their door two hours later and shows them a photo of your lifeless body laying back at the parking lot. 

Also, never assume just because you are on an interstate or driving on a one-way street down here that everyone is on the same page.  With a million senile seniors driving around here, that assumption can easily earn you a one-way ticket to the graveyard. Never assume in a bank or restaurant drive-thru that everyone understands which way is the proper way to enter and exit.  In all likelihood, just around the corner of that building is a modern mature motorist totally "confused" and heading your way.

As I hope I noted in previous articles, Michelle and I are Florida “stay birds” (those who live in the Sunshine State year-round) as opposed to the seasonal “snow birds” (mostly septua- octa- and nonagenarians who flock here in the winter months under the precept that it is better to be half-dead and warm than it is to be half-dead and cold).  Once these snowbirds hit the state there is no mistaking the matter.  Not only do the roads suddenly become congested with sensible sedans, white, gray and beige, but the quality of driving drops while the quantity of accidents soar.  The arrival of snow geeze also manifests itself in a myriad of miserable little ways, as per coots who creep along in the pass lanes and nothing, not angry looks from me, not multiple middle fingers from teens, not horn honks from road ragers, not laser light shows from emergency vehicles, nothing can blast them from the pass lane.

I think even more than their sloth-like reaction time, even more than their turtle-like traffic creep, even more than their mole-like blindness, even more than their some kind of animal-like deafness, it's the deadly indecisiveness of oldsters that’s most frightening.  "When in doubt, do nothing!" seems to be their guiding principle.

Again, take Roy and Ruth for example.  When this typical octa-couple is out enjoying some modern mature motoring and either of them decides to make a turn, well, for some reason, and without fail, they slow nearly to a stop right in the middle of that turn.  It's almost as if they 1) forget why they are turning, or 2) they think slowing to a crawl half way into a turn is as good a place as any to scout out a parking space, or 3) they become suddenly taxed by all that exhaustive turning motion with the power steering.  Many an accident--I wager--and many a near-accident--I KNOW--has been caused by this maddening characteristic of older drivers. 

Just as they seem baffled ("confused" is the word newspapers use) when making a turn geezers seem just so at intersections; they pull too far into the pedestrian crossing and block the path for walkers or cyclists who want to cross. And given their penchant for mistaking the gas for the brake, none but the quick and the dead would venture in front of their vehicle. 

In fairness to old folks, most all age groups pull too far into crosswalks. Unlike most age groups, however, when the slow bulb finally flickers on that a bike--me--is flying along and wants to cross, stunned seniors just seem to flash freeze. 

"Do . . . I . . . pull . . . forward?” seems to be the painfully slow mental process.  “Or . . . do . . .  I . . . back . . . up?   Or . . . do . . . I . . .  just . . .  sit . . . here . . .  and . . . stare . . .  like . . . a . . . fossil . . . frozen . . . in . . . stone . . . and . . . make . . . this . . . stupid . . . idiot . . . go . . .  out . . . into . . . traffic . . . to . . . get . . . around . . . me?" 

Actually, I may be giving these geez too much credit--they may not be thinking anything at all. 

Seldom doth a day pass, it seems, unless some local Sunshine senile confuses the gas pedal for the brake pedal, then proceeds to blast a large hole through a post office wall, rocket right into a canal or mow down some slow dodger in a mall parking lot. Two illustrations . . . .

Up at nearby Venice a while back, old David Rosenberg and his bride, Sue, pulled into the parking lot of a local seaside restaurant. ‘Twas Sue’s 75th and the couple planned on a nice, quiet, uneventful dinner, just the two of 'em.

Of course, David was just a normal old dude as Florida geezers go; just one of our average senile seniors who become bumfuzzled by seemingly anything and everything that shares their environment. And so, as soon as Dave spotted a vacant parking place he did what any other normal 70-, 80-, or 90-year-old Florida driver would do, viz., he became “confused.”  Instead of tapping his brakes for a nice, gradual stop, Dave hit the gas pedal and floored the sucker. Like a rocket, the Rosenberg’s car crashed through a fence, flew over a low seawall and Pa-THUMP-Speeee-LASH, the vehicle sailed right out into the harbor.

Fortunately for the now nautical couple, a number of hero types saw the flying car and quickly ran to the rescue. Said one of those who dove in. . . .

“When my head comes up out of the water I’m right by the driver’s side. The guy looks at me like I am a burglar or an alien. I am pounding on the window, telling him to take off his seat belt. I see the woman. They are staring at me like, who the heck are you? They are in shock.”

The Rosenbergs were in “shock” alright, but it had nothing to do with the deep sea plunge; it was their natural condition.

Despite the frantic attempts of the rescuers, the Rosenberg’s car sank like a stone and the couple drowned. . . . (No, sorry. Ha, ha.  I apologize.  Just a little dark humor and a lotta wishful thinking) Let’s start over. TAKE TWO:

Despite the frantic attempts of the rescuers . . . the couple seemingly would do nothing to save themselves and continued to just stare at the efforts of the men outside.  Finally, one of the would-be heroes grabbed a hammer from the dock and beat out the back window. Just as the water was up to the Rosenberg’s necks and the car prepared to take the plunge, a strong arm reached down and lifted the couple to safety.

One might imagine that after such a close shave, the Rosenbergs would be profuse in their gratitude. One might imagine that after a narrow escape from death the soaked couple would get down on their knees and thank not only the men but god almighty for deliverance.  If one imagined all that one would imagine all wrong. There is nota jota whatsoever that the elderly couple even said “thanks” to the good Samaritans. I suspect that even days after the mishap Dave and Sue still didn’t have a clue and by now both have probably driven off several more piers around the region.

Regardless of the Rosenbergs, the City of Venice held a ceremony to honor the rescuers and the three men were awarded . . . were awarded . . . well, they were awarded awards, that’s what they were awarded. My suggestion to Venice is to place an order for a dozen more such awards and have them handy since there are plenty of seniles out there like the Rosenbergs who’ll need rescuing after they drive into the bay or crash into burning buildings.

One might think that such an incident would be more than enough excitement for one week, but oh hell no. . . .

Soon after that, just up Charlotte Harbor at North Port, some crazy old loon, “for reasons still undetermined,” suddenly turned off busy U.S. Highway 41 and, in broad daylight, headed straight down . . . a bike path! The driver continued speeding along the paved trail for a quarter of a mile! She might have continued on and on in her lala-fruitcake-whacked out journey to nowhere had not there been a bridge standing between her car and a gator-infested creek.   By smashing into the structure the addled woman just missed soaring straight into the murky mess.

Meanwhile, over on the wrong coast, 76-year-old Thelma Wagenhoffer plowed right through the front door of the Publix grocery store.  Witnesses said Thelma’s car appeared to be going at least 50 MPH when it blasted into the building sending people and potato chips flying in all directions.  Although one shopper was pinned beneath the car and a few others got their hair mussed up, it was only by the grace of god and some really fleet feet that more folks were not thoroughly squashed or critically killed.

As for Thelma, well it's hardly worth noting that she still has hardly a clue about what happened.  Contacted at the home, her husband stated that his confused wife (who, of course, was not injured in the least) was “trying to put the pieces together.”

With a little luck, Mrs. Wagenhoffer will be at it again today or tomorrow, exercising her god-given right to confuse the gas pedal for the brake as she crashes through walls and scatters bricks, body parts and cornflakes in every direction. 

It should also be noted that our local post office is going through it’s monthly repairs after 72-year-old Joe Bao blasted a new breezeway into the building the other day.  Judging by the photo, Joe utterly demolished some doors and a wall of the structure.  Safe to say, had man, woman, child, tree sloth, meth addict, “migrant” Mexican, homeless vagabond, or pooping pelican been in the way, they would not be here among we mortals today. 

Hardly does our post office finish patching old holes, I’ve noticed, when along comes another addled geezer boring a new one.  Perhaps officials should just leave well enough alone.  Perhaps they should just give it up, admit defeat and let seniors destroy the building down to the last brick.  After that, just pitch a large postal tent in the palms nearby to serve customers.  True, “confused” folks like Joe, will continue to tear through the canvass but the damage will be vastly less expensive and the financially strapped business will be back and running in a day or so.

 “Bao," wrote a reporter, "said he did not know exactly what happened, but his foot may have slipped between the brake and gas pedal.”  Right. 

A final example, then I’ll let it go.  One gorgeous Sunday a ways back, 65-year-old Bob Schneider of here in Englewood was out enjoying every minute of the day. Normally Bob’s wife, Mia, would be with him on the big Harley but today the loving “soul mate” was busy at home. She expected Bob back by six. Up the same road from Bob a piece, 89-year-old Evert Gustafsson pulled up to a stop sign. Since he didn’t see any other cars coming Evert pulled out into both lanes of the highway. Of course the older than dirt driver didn’t see the motorcycle. Of course the motorcycle slammed into the car. Of course Bob didn’t make it home that evening. Of course Mia Schneider is now a widow. Of course the driver of the car and his 86-year-old wife were uninjured. And, of course, that’s the end of the story.

I wonder if ANYONE—say a politician who doesn’t give a flip about getting reelected--has considered making it much tougher for senile seniors down here to renew their driver’s licenses. Certainly a significant percentage of these people are perfect menaces and should be stripped of their god-given right to kill the rest of us.

Note #1--Lovely local lady, Anna Bastianelli, was pissed off as hell because she had to wait sooooo damned long for her renewed driver’s license to arrive in the mail. 

Finally, the irate woman contacted our local newspaper and spoke with the “consumer advocate” columnist there. In turn, this scribbling do-gooder promptly buzzed the Florida DMV.  Anna’s license to drive was in the mail the next day. 

And so, Ms. Bastianelli now has a legal Florida driver’s license with all the rights and privileges contained therein including, 1) the right to ram into cars, trucks, ambulances, and school buses, 2) the right to run over and flat line cyclists like me, 3) the right to crash through post office walls and fly off piers, and 4) even her right to drive on the road now and then.   Anna Bastianelli is 93.

Do-gooder?   Do-badder?  Do-deather?  You decide!

Note #2, or Journey to the Center of a Geezer’s Petrified Brain--Some old-timer, let’s call him Orville D. Mentia, rambled on in the paper the other day, and, I must say, most pleasantly did he ramble.  In a letter-to-the-ed the man opined about “seniors behind the wheel.”  I was hoping for some good old fashioned down home common sense and some straight forward clear thoughts from this gentleman, but. . . .  In part, the senior spaketh thusly:

’Spunky’ is often used to describe those who still drive past 90.   One woman told me about her father who was in the 90-plus category and is still a good driver.  She did caution me, however, “If you see him on the open road, I would advise not driving in front of him or behind him.”

It is assumed that the above was spoken with a good-natured grin followed by a mirthful chuckle.  If so, then why am I not grinning and mirthfully chuckling?

Orv continues:

The ultimate driving feat for us oldsters is the coveted ability to “drive at night.”  Those who do are held in high esteem not unlike climbing tall mountains. Those who dread the thought seem unaware of those new inventions called ‘headlights’. . . . There was the joke about the senior lady who married the senior man who happened to be a rather unpleasant person.  Her friends questioned the wisdom of marrying someone so cranky.  Her reason was, ‘He drives at night.’  It seems that deep down inside some of us are still like children, afraid of the dark.  Boo!

Now, as scary as this thought is--sharing the streets, highways and post office parking lots with those “spunky” seniors in their 90’s at any time of day--the notion that we are sharing all the above with these people after the sun setteth is an absolutely paralyzing proposition.  From Orville’s light-hearted attitude, one might gather that driving at age 90-something  is a badge of courage, something noble, a virtue that tests tenacity and bravery, rather than a license to "confuse" the gas pedal for the brake a dozen times per day and proceed to squash, flatten, crush, cripple, maim, mutilate, and murder any and all who share a similar street or parking lot.  I rate anyone who is 90 years and up driving on the roads to be on a par with drunk drivers and texting teens.  All are menaces—all are mere accidents about to happen.

The writer above obviously does not see the issue as I do.  Instead, he and his peers deem it a question of freedom and independence versus . . . versus . . . versus slavery and dependency, that’s what.  I understand and even commiserate with the notion.  But Orville and his peers’ right to freedom and independence end where the lives and safety of the rest of us begin.  Or rather, it should (Florida does not seem to be in that big a rush to test whether its seniors are fit to walk and blink at the same time, much less able to drive a two-ton hunk of metal and momentum on our roads and parking lots).

I guess the ultimate kiss-your-ass-goodbye scenario is to be pedaling your bike some dark thirty trying to mail in your 1040 before the deadline and soon after entering the post office parking lot you spot a drunken 90-something texting and headin’ the wrong way YOUR way.  See that sight and y’all might as well stick a stamp on your ass and ship it since there won’t be no comin’ back from that one!  

Friday, April 25, 2014

More Pit Bull Fun in the Sun

There’s an old saying here in Florida which I just made up a few minutes ago: “Don’t go near the water . . . or the land, either.”   

As anyone with a nose for news knows, we Fearless, Featherless Floridians have been losing arms, legs, hands, and heads to alligators for just about as long as we have been in Florida.   Our ancestors who survived quickly learned that if one managed to steer clear of rivers, creeks, canals, locks, lakes, bayous, swamps, sloughs, ponds, puddles, ditches, moist grass, and dripping faucets one will remain relatively safe from gators, or, put another way, no one here is safe.  It has only been recently, however, that even what little bits of land we Floridians cower on has been invaded by another type of gator.  I speak, of course, of terra quadrupus homicidus, aka “land gators,” aka four-legged food blenders, aka pit bulls. 

Which is more dangerous, the water gator or the land gator?  For my money, the latter wins going away. The pit bull is way more dangerous because it is way more unpredictable than the gator.  After all, alligators will ALWAYS attack and kill you, and no messing around either—that’s the sort of predictability you can set your watch to.  Pit bulls, on the other hand, will let you feed them, raise them, pet them, name them, bathe them, play with them, sleep with them, love them . . . then, SNAPPO! there goes that little genetic switch and the pit suddenly attacks and kills you. 

Seemingly overnight, the state and the nation have been swamped by these ugly creatures whose head and jaws form roughly half their body weight and whose walnut-sized brain is enclosed by a thick layer of concrete, granite and iron.  The bad news: Lots of folks own pit bulls.  The worse news: Lots more folks are getting them.  Why?  Why would anyone want to keep these large ugly murderers around?  Well, for the same reason lots of folks stud their noses, tattoo their hides like billboards, and say words like “like” five to ten times per sentence—because it’s like, you know, it’s like the fashionable thing to do and stuff.  As card-carrying followers, none of these geese want to stray too far from the flock because, well, like, you know, like no one wants to be out of step or, you know, like thought different or something.  If owning a pit bull is considered THE cool thing, then owning a pit bull is what they will do. 

Anyway, moving sloooowly along . . . . As you rocket scientists, brain surgeons and  Mensa members who read this blog undoubtedly already know, pit bulls are great at jumping fences or tunneling under same two or three times per day and attacking something—anything—and tearing that something—anything--limb from limb. 

As an example: Not so long ago, over on the wrong side of the state, a middle-aged woman was sitting on land--her patio, in fact--minding her own beeswax, jus’ a chillin' and joyin' the weather.  Her lazy cat lay nearby. Now, felines may not be the brightest bulbs in the animal box, but no one will ever accuse a cat of being a sucker. Cats seem born with an innate suspicion of anything and everything and in a pinch a puss will not rely on a human for jack squat. Nope, a cat can save its own bacon without any help from humanoids, thank you. Thus, when two loose pit bulls stormed onto the scene looking for something small and slow to kill, the cat was up the tree quicker than you can say “Osama bin La. . . .”

And so, if the disappointed pits could not fasten their iron jaws onto something small and easy to kill, they turned their attention to something large and a bit more problematic.  By the time the frantic woman dragged her bloody carcass into the house she was a mangled mess.

When cops arrived, the fun-loving pups naturally attacked. The result: Florida humans and cats count two less loose pit bulls to worry about.

Pit Bulls--those charming, lovable and oh so misunderstood canines who seem to be gaining ground as the leading cause of death among people who can’t run very fast. . .

Pit Bulls—those big, sweet-natured teddy bears who are “great with kids” right until the moment they attack, kill and gut those kids. . . .

Pit Bulls—like boons and beaners, how did the white race ever survive without them?

”Dogs tear off man’s arm in attack” read the small article buried on a back page of our own local fish wrap last summer, as if such events are so common here they warrant almost no coverage.

Seems up at Palatka, Florida, a couple of soft-hearted, but bored, pit bulls were looking for something playful to do. Together, the two decided to jump the fence and kill something.  Most anything would do—another dog would be nice, maybe a child or two, perhaps a herd of milk cows.

As bad luck would have it, human, Roy McSweeney, was working in his yard that morning just on the other side of that fence. Imagine old Roy’s surprise when one moment he is pulling crabgrass and the next he is rolling on the ground fighting for his life. First, the 74-year old man’s right arm was torn completely from his body. Then, as Roy tried to fend off the beasts with his left arm that too was nearly ripped off. The animals then went for the face and tore that to tatters too. Finally, satisfied that the old man was dead, the dogs left and went looking for something more challenging to kill, say a horse.

McSweeney was discovered and taken to the hospital where he later flat-lined. The dogs were also located, presumably covered in blood and still chewing on Roy’s arm. Although the animals were sent to that Great Slaughter Playground in the Sky where all good pit bulls go, and even though it was the third vicious attack the two were involved in, authorities seemed uncertain about what charges, if any, to file against the dogs’ owner, poor boy.

Like other pit people I have read about, the owner in the above case was stunned, confused and searching for answers following the attack. I’m sure that if this fellow were ever sober long enough to make any sense, and if he was able to formulate a thought above that of a parakeet, I’m sure that he would ask himself how the same animals that were raised from puphood, the same who seemed so obedient to commands and protective of the children, how could they turn so vicious so quickly? That, at least, is the 64-dollar question all seem to ask when speaking with reporters after this fatality or that fatality. I personally do not care a dime why that switch works as it does with these murderous brutes. They are hard-wired for violence and I would very much like to see the entire breed banned from the U.S. And while we are at it, I would also like to see their owners--beer guts, meth pipes, tattoos, the works--placed in prison for harboring a beast that would as soon tear every living creature they encounter to shreds as look at them. But the sad fact of the matter is, as long as it is the Roy McSweeneys and Tom Goodriches of the world being dismembered and killed by these animals, little will happen. When the Brad Pitts, Obamas and Hillaries of the world start losing their legs or their lives to them, then we might expect change.

In another attack near Tampa, old John Ashmore was out taking his morning walk.  As was his custom, the old fellow—four score and four--took advantage of the quiet mornings to stay fit. For nearly a million years Ashmore had managed to stay alive without fuss or feathers, but on this day. . . . Little did the spry old dude realize that this morning his neighbor’s two pit bulls were—surprise!—were loose again.  After the bloody mauling was over, somehow John found himself yet alive. Paras on the scene were horrified by what they found, however.  Ashmore suffered “major trauma” over his entire body—that’s fancy lingo for being torn limb from limb. When the dogs turned on the first cop to show, the officer proceeded to remove from this earth two pit bulls more.  Nice shooting, Wyatt!

Across the state at Daytona Beach two mischief-minded mutts were out early trying to break the all-time pit bull speed record in the “Most Things Killed or Hospitalized in the Shortest Amount of Time” category.  First up, cops found 69-year-old Frank Andrisano leaning against a telephone pole, more dead than alive, spurting DNA from virtually every pipe in his body.  "Call the ambulance, O’Brian."  Next, cops tracked the blood spatter until they found 42-year-old Billy Boles on top of a utility box balancing on his last good leg.  "Call the ambulance, O’Malley." Trailing the blood and bones a bit further, our detectives found another poor rudder who had been attacked and knocked to the ground while riding his bike to work.  The blood-soaked victim was barely alive and . . . well, really, this does get downright repetitive after awhile.  "This is a rush order, O’McDonald.  Call the chopper." 

Although Daytona was about to run out of ambulances and helicopters, all the victims were rushed to hospital ERs, of course; both the dogs were found and killed, of course; and, of course . . . so what?  This crap goes on and on and on like the days of our lives, like the leaves of a calendar, like the cycles of the moon—full moon, half moon, new moon, pit bull; full moon, half moon, new moon, pit bull, over and over.  I can just as easily be reading tomorrow or the next day of an entire family of albino dwarfs living in the woods near Tampa who are attacked, killed and eaten by a herd of “loose” pit bulls, just as easily as I can be reading about the warm, sunny weather—both are about as common. 

Pistol Packing Pest Patrol--Meanwhile, as this canine crime wave continues unabated in Florida, up at Bradenton, another form of “Stand Your Ground” was being tested.  A mild-mannered gent was walking his proud little Jack Russell on a leash the other day, both just joyin’ the day.  Pretty quick they came to a three foot high concrete “fence.”  On the other side of said three foot high concrete “fence” was a pit bull.  It seems redundant to once again report just how murderous these creatures are; how their entire existence seems devoted to mutilation and massacre, and so I will forgo the rant.

Thus, when the little dog and his human pal passed alongside the “fence,” the pitbull did that which any self-respecting bully would do when it spots something small, stupid and slow—it lets the good times roll.  After all, it had been almost a week now since last this pit jumped this towering three foot “fence” and killed everything he could clamp his jaws on, including a three-legged cat, a neighbor’s pot-bellied pig, and two squawking parrots. 

Thus, rather than watch his little Jack Russell get gutted and killed in two seconds flat, the JR’s owner whipped out his Portable Permanent Pitbull Attitude Adjustment Apparatus (.38 pistol) and shot the charging beast in the neck and shoulder.  No report yet if the slugs were true and terminated this pest but even if they did not they at least removed from the pit’s one-track mind the thought of killing the little JR for the moment . . . or killing anything else, for that matter.

One or two Thanksgivings back, an unidentified cyclist up in Davie, Florida, was out trying to lose a little lard before hoggin’ down later that day. No problem here, as I see it, but. . . . Enter one “Scooby,” a large, loose canine of the Doberman persuasion. When Scooby spotted the “slow deer” (i.e., a moving bike) there was never a doubt what he would do next.

Okay, now Florida is a “conceal-carry” state. And since cyclists have been not only the victims of armed humanoid attacks, but armed dog attacks, this prudent biker was packing a po-po-in-the-pocket. When Scooby gave chase with deadly intent, then lunged, the bikologist did not hesitate; he let Scooby have it.  And so:  Cops came. Cops saw. Cops left. No problem.  No charge.  No Scooby.

According to his distraught owner, one Dan Abou, Scooby was a truly marvelous dog, both friend and pet; in fact, the sweet-hearted pooch was in training to be a “therapy dog” (just what kind of “therapy” an animal like that could render one can only guess).

“It’s very alarming that someone would be riding a bike with a gun,” whined Abou.

Ho, Dan! I can go you one better! It’s not only “alarming,” but actually criminal, that some certain someone would allow a large and vicious dog to gallop loose around the hood free as a T-Rex. Had it been a kid, and not an armed adult, the outcome might have had a much more terrible outcome.

Dan also insisted that Scooby would have never harmed anyone, “not in a million years,” he sobbed. Well, once again, Dan Abou might know that—check--and Scooby Abou might know that—check--and All God’s Chillun might know that—check--but trust me, when you are hanging out there on the line like a beach towel, a biker has NO way of knowing that an attacking 80-pound dog is really just a big teddy bear rushing to shower him with lots of loving licks. It’s a pretty scary scenario when a large set of snapping jaws, flecked with foam, are running side by side with you and but mere inches from your ankles and legs.

I have been chased a number of times on my bike. Generally, it’s small mutts who do the chasing—weener dogs, terriers, curs. Even if they could catch me, these tiny pests would not know what to do once they caught me. Not so these big ‘uns. Not only can they catch a biker in a short burst, but they act like they would definitely know what to do with one once they caught him. My maxim: Let little yappers yap but shoot dead the big, mean ones.

This marks the second time in a year that someone in Davie has plugged a dog running loose. People in Davie and elsewhere are not gunning down random poms, poodles or pekes; nope, it’s the pit bulls—or in this case, Dobermans—it's these animals who seem to lead a semi-permanent existence running wild in the neighborhood that people are fed up with.

End Note #1--What punishment should be meted out to people who knowingly keep these ticking time-bombs?   What punishment should be dished out to the loathsome cretins whose dogs maim and murder?  I'm sure many folks, including families of the victims, think the owners should be put down just like their dogs (You got a problem with that? Good, neither do I).  But first, how about some good old time medieval foreplay?  How about placing these miserable miscreants into public stocks like they did back in the days of yore where all humanity—the halt, the lame, the lepers, the hunchbacks, the drooling idiots--could pass by and gawk at them?  Those who felt the urge could pelt their heads with rotten fruits, vegetables or manure and, for those really outraged, lots of rocks, bricks and sharp sticks would be provided.  If these beings manage to get killed, well, whatever.  If they survive, put them to work in the lead mines until all the victim’s medical and funeral bills have been paid, then lock them in jail until someone remembers to let their asses out in thirty years. 

End Note #2--Now, this brief examination of the societal and medical impact that pit bulls have on Florida demographics, though seminal, scintillating and super-scientific, is not exhaustive.  For instance, authorities (that’s me) estimate that for every human attacked by these canine killing machines ten animals are also attacked and killed.  Dogs on leashes, cats, pot-bellied pigs, goats, sheep, horses, chickens, cows, and of course, all wild life, suffer terribly from this pit bull curse.   Each and every year the estimated ten million meth cookers in Florida--who also moonlight as pit bull breeders--are working hard to create a larger, more aggressive version than the last.  Given their already high birth rate—thirty to a litter not uncommon--It is estimated by experts (me again) that, if this trend continues, within ten years pit bulls will have attacked and eaten virtually every animal on the planet, including man.  This dire forecast is not meant to unnecessarily frighten, scare or stampede the public . . .  BUT YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!