I shit all over Florida every chance I get, but I really shouldn’t. I was there thanks to the sweetest girl I ever knew and her equally sweet parents. We didn’t agree on all manner of stuff politically, although we both felt that Lawton Chiles had been a good governor and that Jeb Bush was for shit. Now Charlie Crist, who started with much promise, is turning out to be yet another shill and a sell-out.
The Florida Everglades, which I lived less than a mile from for a good stretch, constitute a genuine treasure. They are the sole reason I was glad to be a Floridian, unless you count living in Boca Raton and staring at big fake tits as a benefit, which I tend not to do. I’m a guy who likes his 30-degree days, his hills, and his absence of company, and there was none of that here. But there is no replacing this huge swath of land once it goes. It’s not a place you want to be, really. It’s ugly and buggy and not very hospitable, as my trips out there with C. and Soup taught me. But it’s also home to a huge array of species that could never live elsewhere.
The other day I wrongly reported the number of living panthers in Florida as 20 or so. The number is closer to 80-100, still dangerously low. One day I saw one of these animals, broken and starving and dazed, on the way home from work on the Sawgrass Expressway in northwestern Broward County, maybe in Tamarac. (It may have in fact been a cougar.) It was wandering in the breakdown lane. The whole thing was swallowed up by the fact that some shithead was driving about 50 up the median toward me at the time, with at least two police choppers and several newsies overhead. That’s South Florida for you. I called the Florida Dept. of Wildlife when I got home and never found out what happened. If that poor fucker was not run over I’d be amazed.
If any place allows more legal violations of natural life, I haven’t seen it. Florida actually has a law that allows for the plowing under of turtles for purposes of construction. Fortunately there exist voices of resistance to such shit, and Florida actually lost population in 2008, reversing a decades-long trend. Of course, here I sit bitching about this having moved to the place as an outsider with no discernible purpose for living there except to have a girl and experience hurricanes, in no particular order.
The Everglades are worth saving even if the rest of the state may not be.