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Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2013
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Alligator in a Manhole Doormat

Alligator in a Manhole Doormat
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  • Alligator in a Manhole Doormat

Though not as blood-curdling as a breaching shark in an elevator, an alligator snarling up through a manhole cover on my front doorstep should make uninvited visitors take pause long enough to second guess their decision to disrupt my Air Supply rock-out session and game of One-Man Twister.

OK, I know you're going to think I'm making this up because I make shit up all the time, but I swear this is a true story. I swear on the condition that if it's not true, I'll sell all of my gaming consoles and Air Jordans on Craig's List and devote my life to helping others with no expectation of payment or personal gain. Believe it. And believe this:

When my dad was little, maybe 3 or 4, you could keep alligators as pets, so his dad sent him a baby alligator from Florida for his birthday. I don't know how long he had it before the incident, but I do know that since kids thrive on touching things whether they are supposed to or not, one day he picked the gator up out of its aquarium, held it in front of him, and stared into its eyes. Yeah, you know what happened. It bit him in the face. But not just bit him, bit him and latched on. Snout along top lip, jaw underneath chin, game over. When an alligator's maxillofacial muscles contract, the hands of man have no hope of releasing them. His mom had to drive him to the hospital...or maybe the vet...with the thing hanging from his mouth so they could knock it out and pry it off. Probably they let it loose in the Chicago sewer system after that, but my dad never ran into it again, say, nostalgically peeping up at him through a manhole cover like how the guy who raised the Clydesdale horse reunited with it years later during a Budweiser parade. He does carry the gator's memory in the form of two small scars on his lip and chin though.

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