“Why, oh, why would God create creatures like this?” That was the payoff line delivered by my friend Gerry O’Sullivan—one of my two best friends ever. Here’s the back story.
When Gerry and I were in Graduate School in the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University, we would spend hours talking about everything from theology to music to stories about our homes. Gerry was from the Bronx in New York City, a rough neighborhood, if ever there was one. Once we were at a restaurant and we heard these guys at another table talking about how tough they were—with their heavy Brooklyn accents—and Gerry basically told them to settle down. Besides, he told them, your neighborhood isn’t all that bad.
“So, where are YOU from?” they asked with a bit of a snarl. Gerry told them that he was from the Bronx.
“What street?” they asked, almost disbelieving.
“Purdy Street,” he answered, deadpan. The looks on all of their faces changed to shock and horror.
“And you’re still ALIVE?” the mouthy one exclaimed.
Gerry told about the myth of albino alligators in the New York City sewers. So, I decided to try one out on my brilliant but unsuspecting friend.
“Huh,” I scoffed. “Nothing like the south Florida ‘gators during mating season.” Gerry asked what was so bad about them, despite alligators being naturally aggressive and fierce.
What followed was an amalgam of truths, half-truths, and outright fabrications. I described how gators were known to lie submerged near riverbanks, lakes, and ponds to await their prey (truth). I further described that they would grab dogs who wandered near the water’s edge (truth) but would use the dogs as bait for the dog’s owners to come to the rescue and then release the dog to get at the owner (half-truth). They would drag their victim into the water to drown them by rolling them over and over in the water—the death roll, it was called (truth). Then they would stuff the drowned victim under a submerged log and leave them there until the flesh was “tenderized” for easier consumption (truth).
BUT…during mating season, the male gators were especially aggressive and would come up farther from the water. They wouldn’t even bother with the drowning. One poor old man was practicing putting on a golf course when a gator came and got him (half-truth).
But then the most horrible thing of all, the gator chewed off the man’s pants and had his way with the old man (outright lie).
What I expected was for Gerry to say, “Oh, what a lie!” Instead, the best response to a far-fetched tale ever: with a look of abject horror on his face, Gerry almost-shrieked, “Why, oh why, would God create creatures like this?”
When I came clean with Gerry, he congratulated me on a well-told and believable story that had him hooked from the start. Suddenly, the Bronx didn’t seem so bad.
It was with that in mind that I received news from my brother Tim yesterday. He led off his information with Just when you need something else to worry about. Meth-Gators!
He sent a plea from local law enforcement which read: “Folks…please don’t flush your drugs. When you send something down the sewer pipe, it ends up in our retention ponds for processing before it is sent down stream. Now our sewer guys take great pride in releasing water that is cleaner than what is in the creek, but they are not really prepared for meth. Ducks, Geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do. Furthermore… we could create meth-gators.”
I immediately wanted to call Gerry and tell him of the latest horror—mating Meth gators. I’ll probably need to wait for senility to take him first.
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