Believe it or not, I’ve never read anything about “Florida Man.” But I hear the scuttle about him. He takes up a lot of the news cycle about Florida, and I’m thinking, He’s not the only dude in Florida, why does he get to hog all the limelight? So I’ve come up with a list of stories that the press should cover about real – pinch us, we’re real – Florida men.
Florida Man notices birds. In particular, he notices there are lots. Many of them, he notes with a mental note, have long legs and long necks. He wonders why for 15 seconds. Then, he gets distracted because his Pop-Tart goes ding in the toaster.
Florida Man complains about having to take a shower. He’s already taken one after exercising in the morning, he needed one after walking from car to work in the morning, he needed one after walking from car to home in the evening, and climbing into bed, his wife says, “Honey, you really should take a shower, you’re sticky, and you smell a bit like mildew.” Florida Man stews in bed (with just a pinch of parsley).
Florida Man complains about traffic and other stuff. He goes the wrong way on the toll-way that claims he’s going east when he’s really going north and he wanted to go west. He realizes he has to turn around, which doubles his toll, and makes him worry about his bank account. His thoughts spiral. He’s a writer, and writers, teachers and artists aren’t valued as much as stock brokers, bankers and people who work with real money in arm’s reach. He doesn’t at all fume about The Man and wish he lived when artists were revered. He sees a gator in a retention pond, and all negative thoughts drift away as he delights in his ninth sighting of the year.
Florida Man pays taxes. Well, his wife does. Florida Man’s wife begins whining in late November about taxes, which are due in April. She complains herself into a state of near mental breakdown before she pays for a tax service. One year, she happened upon a friend who “loves doing taxes” and offered to do them for her. While friend is not interesting, he makes up for what he lacks with a calculator, pencil, and a perversely peculiar joy.
Florida Man goes fishing. Knowing fishing is done a lot in Florida and that it’s one of those things that makes you a man, he acquiesces to his son’s begging. They set out with stupid plastic lures that couldn’t catch a tree, which is definitely attempted. Miraculously, son catches a fish. Florida Man delights in son’s victory and, after feeling a tug on his line, yells that he’s got something humongous on his line only to reel in a green-brown slime ball of pond snot. Florida Man questions the man part of his title.
Florida Man knows that venturing into the woods behind his home is a bad idea. But Florida Man can’t resist all the green and believes there is a Garden of Eden (with requisite fountain of youth, sword in stone and clearing from Twilight) just around the next bundle of ferns. Florida Man notices the ground getting squishy. Florida Man swallows mouthful of spider web. Merciless brambles attack Florida Man, palm frond swipes Florida Man square in the eyeball, weird nobby wood roots trip up Florida Man, and finally, thoughtful, mitten-shaped leaves arrest Florida Man’s fall. As Florida Man flees, he loses shoe in misstep in bog of eternal stench. Once home, he thinks, “I’m a real man.”
Florida Man doesn’t close garage quickly enough to escape a herd of mosquitoes following him. Florida Man curses his luck, begins slapping neck, back, calves and ears every 3.25 seconds. Florida Man weighs delights of working in the garage with the reality of inhabiting the same space as the life-sucking blighters. Florida Man runs into house and later begins to sob a little into his soup at dinner. Florida Man’s wife asks what’s wrong. Florida Man wipes tear from eye and relates that being a Florida Man is hard, and perhaps he should settle for being a Florida Sissy.
Florida Man goes outside. Florida Man curses heat. Florida Man goes inside.
So there you have it. This is what the news should be covering. And here’s to all the Florida Men (and Women) out there who are trying to live in, let’s just say, very interesting circumstances. A writer once mused that one of the worst curses one can receive is “May you live in interesting times.” I think the same applies for interesting places. But then, it’s not so bad, is it? And boy, the woods are so green this morning. I need to get out from behind this screen. There have to be some elves out there this time, but I’ll settle for a fairy or two.