A Monograph of Florida Man Headlines by Allie Marini

Introduction

Tell the joke & laugh, but remember: There But for the Grace of God Go I.

Components

Florida Man Arrested Outside Olive Garden for Belligerent Eating of Pasta

Stay drunk. It’s easier to forget where you are, how little you have. Eat like an animal, shoveling handfuls of someone else’s leftover spaghetti into your mouth with your hands, because forks are a luxury. Wolf it down, this is wilderness, & your Styrofoam container will be taken away once you’ve made restaurant patrons uncomfortable with your aggressive eating & the loud articulation of your misery, unfiltered. The bottle allows you to howl about the pain of what you lack. You are given a paper towel to wipe your face before they take the remnants of pasta from you. This small dignity, that you are allowed.

Florida Man Threatens to Destroy Everyone with His Army of Turtles

I need to leave now or you will all be sorry you fucked with the saint, he yells, but it’s only a legitimate emergency once you’ve made a scene at Starbucks. Take refuge at 7-11 instead. Tell the turtles, Be patient. Our time is coming. Try to articulate your desolation, all the places where humans have failed you. Turtles know all about encroachment, about habitat destruction, what it’s like to try & cross roads aswarm with fast-moving cars in search of safe marshland. Be careful you don’t end up cracked-shell in the breakdown lane, dying slowly & unnoticed under pounding sunshine.

Florida Man Attacks Parents Over Pork Chop

After the hunger years, a square meal seems a trap. Too good to be true. It must be poison disguised as meat & potatoes. An increase in paranoia in the ravenous weeks leading up to a meal is not mental illness—correlation is not causation. What starts off as a plate of pork chops ends in a mother glassed over the head & a butcher knife to the chest. No gift can be trusted. No meal without a string attached, a fishhook through the cheek.

Florida Driver Finds Boa Constrictor in His Car Engine

Well, what do you expect of an invasive species with no natural predators, perniciously changing the ecosystem in unpredictable ways? Here, everything in the environment—& the waters surrounding us—is actively trying to kill us, predating the inhabitants (themselves an invasive species, with no biological checks-or-balances), in a fight for domination of the earth.

Florida Man Confesses to Cops, Says ‘Jesus Told Me To’ Drive Ferrari 360 Off Pier

The Lord wants you submerged under 30 feet of saltwater. Wants you to drown the Ferrari 360 preaching, I have made it. Heavy is the head that wears this crown. He tells the arresting officer, Money will be irrelevant in two days, remember to smile, because he has been taught that true wealth is in the afterlife. What happens on earth is just marking time. Remember to smile.

Rattlesnake-Carrying Florida Man Claims to Be ‘Agent of God’

Armed with 7 feet of gentlemanly venom, who’s to say he’s wrong? The rattlesnake is relocated to its natural environs by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission. The homeless Agent of God will not be relocated. The wilderness of the street is his natural environ. There are no commissions dedicated to his safe release.

Florida Man Electrocuted Trying to Remove Bird from Power Line

Even your meager attempts at kindness will become a punchline.

Florida Man Accused of Attacking Mom When She Wouldn’t Dress His Mannequin

At the intersection of domestic violence & loneliness, find a mannequin. Love this female fob of plastic & metal articulation better than the flesh & blood mother who made you. Stuff dumplings in her mouth. See if she smiles showing her teeth.

Florida Man Calls 911 To Get Out of His Fast Food Shift, Cops Say

Your poverty—& the labor system that exploits it—is not an emergency.

Conclusion

You know these are not isolated incidents. You just know it’s in everyone’s best interests to pretend that these things only happen Over There, in someone else’s snake-riddled backyard, full of gators & invasives & clear-cutting & education budget cuts, the land of tourist dollars & minimum wage. You knew all that when you laughed at the uneducated populace & how easy they are for tyrants to manipulate. How easy it is to buy into poison when you were bottle-fed on a steady diet of nothing. Poison will fill your belly, if only for a moment before the toxins take down first the limbic system, then the cardiorespiratory system, leaving you thrashing in the scrub pine straw. This is how invasives with no natural predators gain dominance over an ecosystem. The same way a strangler fig throttles from the roots, leaving the branches to whither & die, even in full sunlight.

Citations:

1. https://thetakeout.com/florida-man-arrested-olive-garden-eating-pasta-1833970785 Accessed April 11, 2019.
2. https://www.clickorlando.com/news/florida-man-threatens-to-destroy-everyone-with-army-of-turtles-police-say Accessed April 11, 2019.
3. https://www.newsweek.com/florida-man-stabs-father-pork-chop-acidic-1390032 Accessed April 11, 2019.
4. https://www.wfla.com/news/florida/florida-driver-finds-boa-constrictor-in-his-car-engine/1699749944 Accessed April 11, 2019.
5. https://www.thedrive.com/news/26006/florida-man-told-cops-jesus-told-me-to-drive-ferrari-360-off-pier Accessed April 11, 2019.
6. https://www.wthr.com/article/rattlesnake-carrying-florida-man-claims-be-agent-god Accessed April 11, 2019.
7. https://www.wthr.com/article/florida-man-electrocuted-trying-remove-bird-power-line Accessed April 11, 2019.
8. https://www.wsbtv.com/news/trending-now/florida-man-accused-of-attacking-mom-when-she-wouldnt-dress-his-mannequin/935524590 Accessed April 11, 2019.
9. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article228487694.html  Accessed April 11, 2019.

 

Allie Marini is a cross-genre Southern writer. In addition to her work on the page, Allie was a 2017 Oakland Poetry Slam team member & writes poetry, fiction, essays, performing in the Bay Area, where as a lifelong Floridian, she is always cold. Find her online: www.alliemarini.com or @kiddeternity.

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