Carnival of the Animals


Two incidents from Ordinary Orlando Life.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

As I set out for work this morning I pulled up to the traffic light that marks the exit to my community. Across the street I saw an animal that was momentarily obscured by traffic and then I saw it again--an enormous black cockerel.

Now, I don't live in farmland--all my life I've been a true suburban boy. But here I am looking at an enormous chicken crossing the road. And with all my bad brain, I thought about the possibilities. Was someone, against all association rules, raising chickens in their back yards? Was this a family pet (also prohibited by association rules)? Or more darkly, was this perhaps an escapee from a house where Santeria is practiced. (Living here in Florida it is not beyond the realm of possibility. In fact, while we're a little north for it, I'd say that it certainly is a possibility.)

See You Later Alligator

Same day, fifteen or so minutes later, I'm pulling into the parking garage at work and the radio announcer comes on with a bulletin. "For the first time in more than a hundred years an alligator has been found in Lake Eola." Well, you might wonder, so what?

Lake Eola is a largish fountain/lake that is smack-dab in the middle of downtown Orlando. There isn't much in the way of alligator nurseries anywhere nearby, so to find an alligator in the Lake suggests that this guy had a little ways to go to plop himself in the middle of Orlando's showplace, theater, center of city.

Of course, when the convention center was being built not more than a few blocks from where I work, they pulled a huge gator--17 or 19 feet out of the swamp they were clearing. So it just goes to show you can't keep a good gator. . . well, seems you can't keep it anywhere at all because it's just going to go.

One related anecdote. When we were at KSC (Kennedy Space Center) we were tooling around on the tour and the bus driver pointed out these peculiar outward sloping chain link fences. He noted that these were built this way because gators could climb a straight fence and too many employees had come out to their cars at night to find that a gator had taken residence under their cars. (KSC is on Merritt Island with is a National Wildlife refuge.)

I think Saint-Saëns included chickens, but I don't think alligators were part of his carnival. So we've added one.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 15, 2006 9:22 AM.

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