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Hunting For Gator's Bait

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Hunting For Gator's Bait
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I was inspired to retell this story after reading Lord of the Flies with my eighth grade class the other day.

I've been teaching this novel for years. For those who don't know the story, it's basically the story of some school-aged boys who get marooned on an island with no adult supervision (sign me up!) and what happens as a result. It's the whole "darker side of human nature bit." Anyway there's one character named Jack. He's sort of the bad guy of the story.

The part that "inspired" me is where Jack decides to paint his face, ala Rambo, so he can hunt down pigs for food. There's a famous line that goes something like this (and I'm paraphrasing), "the mask hid Jack from self-consciousness," blah, blah, blah.

As I was reading this part to my class, my mind wandered back to Gator Growl (the University of Florida's homecoming pep rally held every year where they fill Florida Field and perform all sorts of funny skits at the expense of the patsy de jour. Usually there's a headline comedian and the year I'm thinking back to had Robin Williams in the house)...

My friends and I got to watch from the field this year.

We positioned ourselves as close to the stage as possible strategically behind the Gatorettes (need I say why or more). As we were sitting there, one of my buddies turned to me and goes, "Hey look, it's Albert the Alligator" (UF's alligator mascot that you always see on the sideline during Florida games on t.v.).

Now mind you, we had done the appropriate pre-Gator Growl "preparations" at one of the many near campus watering holes, so I was a bit dubious to my friend's admonishment to turn to look at Albert. Thought he might be "messing" with my already messed up mind. But I did turn.

And this was what I saw: Albert sitting too, right behind the fairest Gatorette in the land.

Now if you've ever seen Albert, you know, that like all alligators, he has a rather over-sized "tail" which pretty much touches the ground whenever he's standing. He also has a huge gator head which masks his true identity.

Well on this night, Albert sat with his tail between his legs, literally. And his "over-sized tail," was pointing right at this Gatorette's "tail." When I turned to look at Albert, he returned my glance.

And I swear he was smiling.

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