I spake the other day with my friends and neighbors, Bob and Nancy Chapman, of here on Manasota Key and Connecticut.
Bob is a typical retired airline pilot, tall, slim, sharp, and . . . a very witty fellow (hate to tell you readers this but I have known several other airline pilots in my overly long stay on this whirling blue ball and although I would have no problem riding up there in the wild blue yonder with ‘em when they are sober, they were real party animals back down here on earth). But anyway, Bob had his arm in a serious-looking sling. Like myself, Bob is into biking (Ironic humor: A pilot down to one-wing because of a bike crash).
Among other “great news” Bob brought to the table this day was that someone reported that a Burmese python had been spotted on this island (nice! just what an ophideophobic and small pet owner like myself wants to hear; where are the Giant Mutant Mongeese when you need them?)
Then, Bob mentioned some photos he took on our beach a bit back. The one at top of the pelican about to do his final dive of the day is very nice but the one below is, well, what can I say? I can say it's a six-foot Bull Shark. I can say it's only a few yards off our beach. I can say that at this time of evening the shark is looking for anything it can find to saw into, including human legs and human buttocks. I can say, BOB, KEEP YOUR DAMNED ARTSY PHOTOS TO YOURSELF!
Of course, Michelle and I are not idiots . . . well, we're idiots but we are both smart enough to know that when we swim there has to be sharks out there somewhere . . . but HO, HO, HO! actually SEEING THEM, and so fuggin close too, really adds to our swim stress levels. And these are not just your common run-of-the-mill sissy Sand Sharks or Lemon Sharks or Peppermint Sharks or Pink Tip Dwarf Toothless Reef Sharks either; nope, these are the big 'uns, these are Bull Sharks, perhaps the most savage, murderous, remorseless predator in the ocean. So voracious are these mindless killing machines that they actually leave the salt for fresh water in search of food. One attacked people in a canoe hundreds of miles up the Zambezi River in Africa. Another was caught years ago near St. Louis on the Mississippi River! That's how dangerous and determined these brutes are! I think such was her shock that Michelle has been stressed right out of the water for good.
Yes, seems our "friend" Bob was just full of good, “funny” news . . . Bike accidents and Broken wings . . . Burmese pythons . . . Bull sharks . . . Bad things come in “B’s” and threes, as my mom always said. Nancy is a fresh-faced daisy but her husband, Bob, is just a Big Bounty of Bad news. Glad I never flew with him! (just kidding, Bob . . . sorta.)
Geezer On Geezer—Retired banker, Sir James Winchester IV of nearby Venice, Florida, was standing in line the other day among the common rif-raf, doing business at (where else?) a bank. Seems the 74-year-old didn’t much like the way this particular money mill was doing business, thought he could do it ever so much better, and loudly made known his sentiments to the poor serf who was serving His Highness at the time as teller. When a 71-year-old commoner in line behind Sir James thought that, with Easter coming on and all, he might play Jesus the Peace Maker and “try to calm” His Majesty down a bit, His Majesty turned angrily around and gave the uppity peasant a sound cuff on his thick skull. The royal blow knocked the impudent knave to the floor, dashing his glasses to bits. Just as Lord Winchester was about to put a real chicken lickin’ on the would-be Jesus and give the rascally peasant a curb stomp he would long remember, the bank manager stepped in and parted the two combatants.
See? That's what I mean. Here in the "Land of the Living Dead" there is never a dull moment!
Senior Disturbance #2—Seems 72-year-old Jim Pelletier was also on the warpath the other night over at North Port. Jim may well be totally marbles since the report states he was “living with his family,” which usually means, “this geez is clinically batz and is under complete house lock down to save society from his craziness.” Anyway, Jim got it into his scrambled thought process that he wanted to go tooling around in the family car at midnight. So, when a member of the family, a 44-year-old woman, refused to hand over the keys, the frolic was on.
Jim first locked a pretty good grip on the lady’s throat as he tried to not only struggle the keys out of her fist but strangle her life out of this world. When that failed, he went to work removing great gobs of the gal’s hair like he was pulling crab grass. Yelling for help, the hard-pressed woman then bit the crazed coot hard on the arm which forced him to release his hold. After that, she then gave her attacker a few small smacks and scratches for man and one giant shove for mankind. Old Jim flew backwards and hit his noggin hard, not on a moon rock, but on a bread box. After a bunch more fighting, wrestling, hair pulling, and enough wild racket to wake the dead, cops finally arrived and gave Jim that thing which he had fought so hard for--a midnight ride in a car.
Ha! Old folks down here get pretty dang ornery when you try to separate them from the things they love, including their means of backing over people in parking lots or crashing holes through Wal-Mart walls.
Moral of the story: You are damned if you do and you are damned if you don't. If crazy Paw-paw or goofy Grammy steals the car keys and then proceeds to run over and destroy everything they encounter, you know you're gonna find your butt in serious trouble. Don't surrender the keys to 'em and you find yourself in a Texas Death Match at midnight in which not only is your home demolished and you wind up with a high five-figure medical bill, but you find yourself being fitted for a really bad wig when you leave the hospital.