Please don't ride the wildlife
TBO.comWhenever I hear a strange or disturbing story in the news, I think to myself "Please don't let this be something that happened in Florida."
Published: October 6, 2012
Published: October 6, 2012
I make this plea to the powers that be because it seems that all the craziest, most off-the-wall news occurs right here in the Sunshine State and I really don't like to believe that people from my home state can possibly be so deranged.
I once had a theory that the sun was actually to blame for higher levels of insanity because the closer you get to the equator in any given population around the world, there seems to be more violence, less clothing and increased acts of psychotic behavior.
That doesn't mean that some lone nut like a Ted Bundy can't be spawned out of the Pacific Northwest, but he did make his way to Florida before he was captured.
This all leads up to the most recent in Florida's shaming news: the manatee wrangler. This woman decided it would be okay to hop on top of one of these endangered mammals' back for a little ride.
When I read the headline, I knew it happened at one of our beaches because where else do they have manatees? The photo revealed that she was wearing a bikini top mismatched with a pair of swim shorts which screamed "FLORIDA!" without even having to confirm whether or not she was sporting a pair of flip flops, the footwear of choice for just about anyone calling our state home.
I will shamefully admit that I laughed aloud when I saw the pictures and I won't even try to defend this reaction. Sometimes things are just funny, even when an adorable animal on the verge of extinction is being harassed.
For one thing, the woman did not look flattering in any way. One of my biggest fears is that someone will snap a photo of me in my bathing suit when I don't know they are doing it. Heck, even if I do know, I wouldn't like it. No view is a good view as far as I'm concerned because I'm not 22 years old anymore.
Anyway, she wasn't exactly posing for the camera and she didn't look to have very good control over the situation, which is understandable considering the fact that she most likely forgot to bring her manatee riding gear to the beach that day.
The other reason the photo was humorous is that I have never in my wildest dreams thought to ride a sea cow! They seem to glide through the water at their own slow pace chewing on aquatic plants and basically don't bother anyone.
Manatees remind me of myself on land; lumbering around unable to avoid running into anything that moves with any type of accelerated motion. Perhaps manatees are a bit more graceful in their habitat than I am in mine, but they aren't constantly trying to avoid my son's skateboard carelessly discarded by the side door. Then again, I'm not always looking over my shoulder for oncoming propellers or women who think I'm some kind of entertainment recently escaped from a Sea World side show.
The manatee wrangler turned herself in to the authorities with the excuse that she is new to town and didn't know any better.
I'm guessing the law will have to be changed because of this woman's actions. I'm looking forward to seeing what those new signs will look like.