Select Page

Canoeing Through Alligator-Infested Water

Mar 1, 2018Recovery

If you read yesterday’s post and thought, “canoeing through alligator-infested water seems like an oddly specific scenario,” some backstory:

When I lived in Sarasota, my brother Shrek came to visit. (His real name is Shawn but he prefers Shrek. It’s weird but so is he.) He was on a road trip & wanted to see as many state & national parks as possible. Myakka River State Park was the closest state park to me, so we went there.

As we were parking, I got a text from Thor, another brother. The message: “Tell Shrek I turned his car into a real Jeep”. Shrek blanched & asked for more details. “I took the doors off,” Thor answered. The problem was that Shrek didn’t have a Jeep Wrangler. He had a Cherokee. A brand new Cherokee. He had traded cars with Thor for the summer to avoid putting a road-trip-worth of miles on his new car.

Shrek was mildly distressed, which may explain what happened next. We walked into the park, taking in the gator-filled waters (Myakka is known for them) & Shrek beelined for a set of canoes on the water’s edge. He looked at the gator napping in one, said, “I wonder if we can rent these,” then went to the outpost to inquire.

I shrugged & followed along. In my defense, I only had about a year sober & my brain was still drying out.

The man at the counter confirmed that we could rent a canoe & had us fill out liability forms. After we paid, he handed us our paddles & held out a whistle. “If you get in any trouble out there, blow this whistle. We have a speed boat & will come retrieve you.”

I reached for it but Shrek slapped my hand away: “Is there a fee associated with retrieval?”

“Pardon?” The man asked, looking confused.

“A fee,” Shrek responded. “Is there a fee for retrieval? If we blow this whistle & you come get us, do we have to pay you money?”

Probably the question all of you would have asked too. Not “Is it common for people to need to be rescued?” But “Is there a fee associated with retrieval?”

“Er, yeah? I think it’s $50?”

Shrek picked up the paddles & turned to leave. “Then we don’t need the whistle.”

Long way of saying, I know that my action plan if I’m canoeing through alligator-infested water & the canoe starts sinking: I’m feeding my brother to the gator.