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See you later …

As someone who grew up in South Florida, I can attest first-hand to the essential strangeness of the Sunshine State and some of the people there.

Pick up any newspaper in the nation, and if there’s a wrap-up of headlines from across the country, the ones from Florida will be odd.

Oregonians work to “Keep Portland weird” and in Texas, they strive to “Keep Austin weird.” Florida has a whole state and it requires no effort.

There’s even a Twitter roundup you can follow (@_FloridaMan) that documents these things. Sample tweets:

  • Florida Man Tries to Hide Identity During Traffic Stop by Chewing Off Fingertips
  • Florida Man Accidentally Shoots Himself While on His Way Into Job Interview at Elementary School

You can find Florida Woman, too (@_Flor1daWoman). Sample tweet:

  • Turtle Survives Flying Through Florida Woman’s Windshield in Real-Life Game of Mario Kart

The Palm Beach Post must have a full-time reporter on the weird news desk, maybe two.

Here’s the latest, per the Post: Guy named Joshua James finds a four-foot long alligator in a pond near his house.

What would you do in those circumstances? Would you say to yourself, hey, let’s go down to Wendy’s and throw the gator through the drive-through window as a prank on your friend who works there?

You probably wouldn’t, but James did. Actually, his friend wasn’t on shift that day, but James threw the reptile through the window anyway.

Now, imagine you’re the cashier at Wendy’s, thinking about what you’ll do when you’re done slinging Frosties, burgers and fries.

You turn around and, inexplicably, a four-foot alligator has appeared on the floor behind you. You jump out the window, probably the same one the gator came in through.

Cops are called. James is arrested. The charge?

You guessed it, “Assault with a deadly weapon.”

Fast-forward to James’s day in court. After apologizing profusely to the judge, he got a year of probation and a couple of misdemeanor convictions.

The judge remained unamused. “This type of thing is not a prank. It’s a crime,” he told James.

Florida Man’s tweets are pretty ephemeral, but don’t bet anyone will ever forget this episode. Any time James applies for a job, someone likely will vet him on Google.

He should expect to hear, “Oh, so you’re that gator-tossing guy …”

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