People often ask me "Sean, how do you come up with your content each day? That must be awfully hard to do five days a week!" (Actually, nobody ever asks me that, I just couldn't think of a way to start this post. Also, the "awfully hard to do" part is a pure sympathy play by me. Nothing more, nothing less.)
Well, it's funny you should ask, random person!
Greatness begins in any number of ways. Let's take today, for example. I sat down at the keyboard and wanted to find a video of Texans wide receiver Jeff Maehl short-arming that pass over the middle on Saturday night. So I put "alligator arm" (football term for "pushing out on an over-the-middle catch") in Google, and hit SEARCH.
Well, no Jeff Maehl video, but I did find a story about an animal trainer in Ohio who was doing some tricks with an alligator at the county fair and almost had his arm chewed off, and I thought "WOW! That's WAY more interesting than Jeff Maehl! Let's write about that!"
So today, that's what I did to seek content. Sometimes, the inspiration is that
sick pathetic random.
Here's the story of an alligator, a trainer, and an arm that may never be the same:
Daniel Beck is a trainer with the "Kachunda and the Alligator Show," which has taken its act to the annual Cuyahoga County Fair in Berea, OH. Rather than having me describe exactly what said "act" entails, why don't I thieve the information from their website:
Kachunga & The Alligator Show began in 1982 as a public awareness program designed to bring alligators and other wildlife to schools to educate students.
It has since grown into one of today's most popular shows in the fairs and festivals business. Kachunga & The Alligator has been thrilling and educating audiences from coast to coast for over 15 years.
Wildlife Entertainment & Education currently deploys five gator show units. Two are permanently located year-round attractions, and three travel the U.S. and Canada thrilling audiences and packing fairs wherever they go.
All right, so there you go. It's basically a traveling roadshow of swamp reptiles and risk-seeking carneys designed to build awareness of alligators and the like. On paper that sounds bad-ass, but I think we will quickly see that perhaps handing out DVD's of Season 3 of Swamp People is a safer, less bloodcurdling way to educate and enlighten the youth of northern Ohio on the reptilian swamp life of our deep South.
To that end, here is the video of Beck climbing into the squared circle with the alligator (who, if I had to name the creature, I would go with Tyson, Marv Albert, or King Bath Salts):
0:18 -- So we see that this is a two-man show, one guy (presumably the more tenured and far more intelligent of the two) working the microphone carney-style and the other guy (whose IQ is starting straight up at Forrest Gump's on the aptitude graph) who is the stunt donkey responsible for riling an alligator who appears to running free, unencumbered by any chains, and still has all of its teeth (bad combo).
0:20 -- The stupid one, that's Dan. I know this because the carney just introduced him and asked the audience if they would like to see Dan put his hand in the alligator's mouth.
0:24 -- When asked if they would like to see Dan
have one of his limbs violently truncated from his body place his hand in the gator's mouth, the northern Ohio audience roars its bloodthirsty approval, obviously full of pent-up anger from a year of watching Cavs basketball, Browns football, and the Indians in the throes of their longest losing streak in God knows how long. 0:35 -- Just as the carney guy is encouraging people to get out their cameras and "focus in on the gator's mouth" (I mean seriously, why not just hand out copies of Faces of Death on their way out?), a perturbed Tyson the Gator makes his first lunge at Dan. But it's fine because Dan has a stick to defend himself.
0:48 -- Dan sticks his hand inside the gator's mouth and pulls it out just before its jaws snap shut. So before watching it all the way through, I know this thing winds up going poorly for Dan eventually, otherwise it wouldn't be on the internet.
But if I were in the audience seeing this fresh and live, I would be looking for the trick or the "catch" to Dan's little tempting of fate because NO ONE is dumb enough just to stick their hands into the jaws of a creature with the strongest bite force of any being on the planet (FACT), right? Not in front of 50 Ohioans at some random carnival for probably $15 an hour plus meals, right? I mean, he has to know with a billion percent certainty how to escape peril, correct? Um, let's continue....
1:00 -- Carney: "Did y'all get your pictures?....No?....Dan, do it again..." Basically, Dan is the carney microphone guy's little gator slave at this point. Essentially, what he said was "Hey Dan, those three soccer moms with the little shithead kids don't know how to work the zoom function on their iPhones. Go risk a limb again, ass clown."
1:05 -- Carney (as Dan goes in for round two): "He's got one of two ways he can catch the alligator, folks. One way is to approach the gator from the front and pin his head back..." (Apparently, this gator speaks fluent English because, almost as if he understood carney guy's revelation of Dan's strategy, he starts flipping the fuck out.)
1:12 -- With the gator creating a Tasmanian Devil-esque whirlpool spiral of chomp, first Dan loses his footing, and then the gator begins the process of Dan losing an arm. A few people cheer thinking either Dan's apparent faux pas is part of the act (either that or they've been waiting all day to see a grown man lose an arm).
1:15 -- After the initial 1.3 seconds of cheering, the fairgoers become frightened and horrified, and the only way parents would have been begging their kids to move away from the stage faster would be if Kachunda announced that Jerry Sandusky was their closing act.
1:33 -- Carney guy finally gets Tyson the Gator to release the hold but not before Dan's right arm is twisted into the shape of a question mark. By the way, unsung heroes of this video are the two kids who not only stay up front during this whole escapade, but actually stand up so they can get a better view.
Those two kids are either going to be heart surgeons or serial killers when they get older, with no in-between. If they're down with an alligator dismembering a human being ten feet from them, a desk job just won't do. They'll need some gore.
1:45 -- As Dan skulks away, the carney gets back on the microphone and consoles the crowd, reminding them that "These things happen." Um, really?!? I hope they don't happen that often because there are 1) a fixed number of shitheads who are willing to make "being gator food" their career choice and 2) a fixed number of limbs on said shitheads.
1:50 -- "...and we'll be back tomorrow."
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You hear that Dan? Rub some dirt on the right arm, and have the left one ready to go tomorrow, slap nuts. The show must go on!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.