Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meet Everglade Gary and His (Elusive) Neighbor

I just back from Florida, and I would like to share a story about watching the debacle against Tampa Bay. Thankfully, I chose not to attend the game live. However, I did have the misfortune and enjoyment to watch the game with a gentleman named, Everglade Gary. Misfortune, as I was supposed to take “Everglade Gary’s Kick Ass AirBoat Tour” and then be back to civilization in time for the 1:00 pm kickoff, however his motor conked out, and we ended up at his mechanic/gator-wrestler/interior designer brother’s house in the middle of the Everglades. You ask 95% of people, and being stranded with a guy named Everglade Gary in the middle of Florida swampland is not how they would choose to spend their Sunday. However, this misfortune quickly turned to enjoyment, as I got to drink ice cold beer and watch football with a genuinely cool guy as his brother got to work fixing the boat.

By gametime, we were each eight beers deep, and he was explaining to me about the skunk ape. If you’ve never heard of the skunk ape, you are missing out on one of the greatest pieces of local lore this country has to offer. You see, the skunk ape is Florida’s version of Bigfoot or Sasquatch or Yeti or Abominable Snowman. It is similar in size to very large man, covered in hair, and, because “it sleeps in empty gator dens full of methane gas and sweats a lot without bathing,” it smells terrible. Gary was pretty sure he smelled one once, but then again, he said, it could have just been his dog who has a habit of rolling in alligator carcasses. Gary was quick to inform me that he was not an expert on the skunk ape, but that he liked to pass on the story for an acquaintance, Dave Shealy, Director of the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters.

Maybe not an expert on hairy, reeking humanoids, but what soon became apparent was that Everglade Gary was an expert on football. He would be deep into a story about how he got into a bar fight in Fort Meyers with six college guys on Spring Break because one of them said alligators couldn’t climb trees (Look it up. They can...if you don't believe me, Gary has something he'd like to talk to you about), and then he would quickly make an incredibly insightful observation about the game. I began to realize that Gary’s boat breaking down may have been the best thing that could have happened to me that day. 1) I got a taste of local Florida culture 2) I got to watch football with an incredibly knowledgeable football fan 3) it’s always good to be reminded that beers taste better when it’s hot, humid, and it smells vaguely of methane and sweat…

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for shedding light onto the oft derided topic of the Skunk Ape or Swamp Ape; also known as the Swamp Logger, it is a member of the hominid cryptid genus.

    (a message to the Florida Dept. of Wildlife; THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!!!!)

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  2. Warning: The Swamp Ape has also been known to sleep on abandoned mattresses in your living room for weeks at a time, turning your living room into a den full of methane gas.

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  3. Man, really want to know how can you be that smart, lol...great read, thanks.

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