Category Archives: Writing Projects

Pet Alligator

My dad says he once had a pet alligator.

I’m going to repeat that.

My dad says he once had a pet alligator.

Says he had it delivered. This is when he was still a kid. Hid it from his dad, kept it in a steel washtub in the basement.

In one version of the story, he fed steaks to it, stolen from his father and chopped up. His mother knew about it, but not his dad. An aunt was over, and they were doing laundry in the basement, and his mom said to him, “why don’t you show your aunt your pet?” He went over to the washtub, and she said, “Oh wait, I know what that is…. It’s a TURTLE!” “Nope.” “I bet it’s a lizard.” “Nope.” And he holds it up. She screams, falls backward and breaks an arm or something.

His dad later comes downstairs (looking for his steaks?) and the alligator has gotten loose, and meets him halfway up the stairs. He screams and tumbles down the stairs. Conftonts my dad later. “Boy, you can’t be keepin’ that here. That’s a wild animal.” Dad ends up donating it to the zoo, who sends him a nice letter thanking him for the alligator.

If I remember correctly, in another version of the story, the aunt was never mentioned, and his dad discovered it going down the stairs drunk.

Do you believe my dad’s stories? I asked in my letter to Kenny specifically if that story is true.

Since alligators were taken off of the endangered species list, you can again purchase alligators as pets. One outfit will sell you a 24” male or female alligator for $125 plus $40 shipping. They also sell alligator food pellets. One pound will feed an alligator for several weeks.

When I showed the ad I had found to my wife, her response was anything but ambiguous:


A Eulogy for the Living, Part 1

I recently visited my father in Florida. My father is a retired police officer from Montgomery County, Maryland. He turned seventy in 2014, and pointed out during the visit that the average life span for a cop was fifty-five.

He has had his share of health problems over the years – sleep apnea, weight-related leg problems, pulmonary embolism, near-fatal appendicitis, things like that. He’s a very large man. He gets winded walking from the dining room table to his easy chair. He’s on multiple meds, including Warfarin (blood thinner), blood pressure meds, water pills, and probably more. He often says, “If I’d known I’d last this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” I take that to heart, and I think that’s why I took up running and gym workouts – to avoid being in his shape at his age… or any age.

By all accounts, he should have been dead years ago. He smoked for decades, almost died from that. He drank for decades, could have easily died from that. Ate badly, kept horrible hours and stress levels from his years as a cop. Most of the guys he worked with over the years are dead. Most? Nearly all.