Alligator Shoes

Greetings my fellow wanderers as we stumble down this slippery, bumpy, winding path called life. Today is a tale of woe – mostly. It all began shortly before Christmas – another topic to which you may eventually be exposed. For now let’s turn back to a week or two before the holidays when I was able, after a long wait, to score a visit with a local dermatologist.

So the story begins… “A man holding a baby alligator walks into a dermatology office………..” As a little background info, I have enjoyed many days in the sun in my brief if not illustrious sojourn on the planet and have gleaned a fair amount of pleasure out of sporting a nice tan. I have also sported my share of precancerous lesions and now reside in The Sunshine State – thus the desire to meet my new Dermatologist. The long anticipated day finally arrived with much less fanfare than one might imagine and during the four minutes that the doctor and I should have been bonding , exchanging niceties and forming a lasting relationship he did his cursory exam, zapped me a few times with liquid nitrogen and said “Here’s a prescription for your face.” Appointment over – welcome to Medicare! In his defense he may have been uneasy in the presence of my alligator. Two days later I picked up the prescription and after the EMTs revived me from sticker shock I read the package insert which suggested that due to the likelihood of a phase of treatment best described as “unsightly,” it would be advisable to begin treatment at a time when social engagements were not a priority. I did heed that warning and shortly after our holiday visitors were gone I began the treatment which required an application of this creme ( Flourouracil – nasty stuff!) twice a day for three weeks. Harmless enough one thinks. Beware, beware!!

After two weeks of a burning, itching face and large red patches reminiscent of ground beef, things were looking pretty bad so I consulted “medical professionals “on the internet only to discover that in the next week things could get a whole lot worse — and they did! The description of “unsightly” on the packaging was joyless euphemism. At the beginning of treatment I maintained a rather cavalier attitude. Certainly I was not so vain that I couldn’t endure brief facial disfigurement. Wrong!!!! Turns out that I am that vain. Perhaps it was the greetings of friends “Hey Jim, did you go duck hunting with Dick Cheney? Hahaha………!” Or that of strangers “Hey buddy, do you serve a bun with that face? Hahaha……..!” In desperation I tried to explain it away by relating how I’d saved three children, an alligator, a puppy and a lawyer (more on that later) from a burning building. The most convincing tale was how I missed my mouth with a flaming shot! I can’t take credit for that but can thank one of my brothers for his real life adventure!! Stuff happens. I will not reveal which brother on social media but suffice it to say – check out he who has only one eyebrow!

At the three week mark and the peak of my misery I asked Susan if she would have married me if I’d looked like this when we met. I was comforted by the fact that she took no time to answer and the answer was….”Probably, if you had a lot more money and were nicer”! In that order! After 39 years of marriage I have lowered her standards but she has established her priorities! With age comes wisdom.

Some things beg the question “Why?” That is not one of them. But it rekindles a memory of spending time in the car with one of my two-year-old grandsons over the holidays. A frequent and rather repetitive refrain from the back seat was “Grumpa go Faster, Grumpa go Faster!………….. So began a rather lengthy back and forth explaining why it was not an appropriate time to go faster followed by yet another “Why?” Approximately 23 “Why’s” later I asked his mother if he wasn’t still a bit young for this type of discourse to which she responded ” No, it usually ends with a discussion of the Big Bang Theory”! That same mother is expecting a baby girl in April. In fervent hope that the next child will be obedient and knowledgeable they are going to name her Alexa.

There are still billboards in Florida, an industry ostensibly supported by personal injury lawyers, and on a mainland highway just a few miles from the approach to our island paradise there are many of these larger than life reminders that the rest of Florida is still out there………….Why?…………… BANG!….. Just a few weeks ago we encountered one such billboard advertising “Marmalade, Jellies and Small Baby Alligators!” Really? How does one decide what to put on one’s toast in the morning? “Say honey, could you pass the small baby alligators please?” Does anyone else detect an inconsistency in those offerings? None the less, our curiosity now piqued, we stopped and picked up some marmalade, a few baby alligators and a couple of lawyers for the alligators to play with. Once you have alligators you soon have to figure out what to do with them. They’re a little like working dogs. If they don’t have a job to do they get depressed and hang out in the bathtub making a mess with all that marmalade. They are not as troublesome as the lawyers but more on that later. So I’ve trained them to be alligator shoes. I just buckle one to each foot and I can go anywhere without moving a muscle and no one makes fun of my face. If they get restless at home and I walk into the room wearing a Lacoste jersey they get as excited as a couple of puppies. Speaking of puppies, if we’re out walking and I just dangle one from a stick in front of my shoes we can go all day! ( Another reason I’m not running for political office – just lost the puppy lovers vote…) Anyway, if they’ve been good, when we get home I throw them each a small lawyer. (….and lost the Florida Bar endorsement) Much of my spare time is now spent learning reptilian wrestling moves and coming up with alligator ideas. I tied each end of a rope to tails of two of them to make authentic alligator clips but so far they don’t get it; and I don’t want to tell you what happens when I mention luggage!

Time heals all and I am happy to report that my face is getting better. Apparently when all is said and done my skin will be as fresh and new as a baby’s……….which will look pretty odd compared to the rest of me! Oddly the ingredients in the medication are strikingly similar to marmalade.

Hard to believe February is upon us and another Groundhog Day has slipped away. Life is good and full of wonder. So I wonder what life would be like if I had more money and was nicer – in that order.

OK. Since you asked.

Which side of a groundhog has the most hair?…………………..The outside! Ha! Keep smiling.

From the Grump stump, Grumpa


  1. Mel

    I was given the option of having that stuff on my face or continuing the yearly zapping. After seeing a few patients (they are now dead but not from the cream) enduring the cream treatment, I chose the latter option. I suspected they would (encouraged by good insurance) continue to zap me yearly anyway.

    Guess I Don’t believe they have my bestinterestat heart.

    Keep those blogs going!

  2. tomc


    Glad to hear you are on the mend. I can’t imagine things were much worse for you than myself immediately before my prom night or the taking of any high school annual photo, especially as those were days when we were still in the hunt and not happily married. And never discount vanity; something sadly lacking in our country by the appearance of most you see on the street.

    In Paris now, a city where every malady can be treated by a cream or emollient, from lack of exercise to depression, to upset stomach . Shop windows are full of them. No doubt very expensive and not covered by Medicare.


  3. Jgmurph40

    I can’t believe it is Feb 25 and I am just returning your Note. I wish I could say that I have been busy doing something exciting. That is not the case. I think maybe because I I don’t have anything exciting to tell you. Anyway I woke up in the middle of the nite and thought that I need to send Bob Stroheckers wife a note. To do that I need correct spelling of name pluse address etc. etc. would you please in your spare time work that out for me. Thankyou in advance. Incase I forget. All is wellhere. We are looking forward to Megan’s wedding when all the George day Pritchards will be together. Please keep n touch. Love Jane


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *