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We Are All This Florida Man Wrestling a Gator into a Trash Can

The struggle is real.

This week, the internet was captured by the latest viral shenanigans coming out of Orange County, Florida, where veteran Eugene Bozzi wrangled a rogue alligator into a rolling trash bin. Bozzi then rolled the bin to the local lake and freed the gator, saving his neighborhood from the wild animal.

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Naturally, the story went viral, and for good reason. After all, what’s more captivating than a man in Adidas slides wrestling an apex predator into a trash can?

The video struck an unexpectedly emotional chord with me: seeing someone stand up and take decisive action against a threat to his community. In an interview with the local news, Bozzi said, “Somebody’s gotta step up and do something. We all gotta look out for each other, right?” It’s a simple statement of fact, but it highlights how we’ve been living for the past 19 months.

Americans have been living in something of an empathy vacuum for years now. It started with the election of a “f*ck your feelings” president in 2016, who clawed his way to power through bullying, intimidation, and corruption. And it was exacerbated by a global pandemic that showed the depths of our own ignorance and selfishness. We are currently living in a nightmare of our own making: multiple vaccines have been available for months, yet a sizable minority’s refusal to follow science and public health protocols.

Their selfish ignorance has resulted in a pandemic of the unvaccinated, where thousands of Covid patients clog our healthcare systems, drain our doctors and nurses, and impede the rest of us from getting the basic care that we need. This is all, of course, thanks to the Republicans who chose to make the pandemic a political game. And they were aided by Fox News and other nefarious propaganda outlets, whose deliberate callousness has prolonged our nation’s suffering.

Now, we stand on the precipice of the biggest investment in American infrastructure and community support … all of which is hamstrung by two selfish, self-serving senators (Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema) who are more prioritizing their personal corporate cash flow over the needs of millions. It’s infuriating on bone-deep level, to be so close to real change and to see it ripped away due to corruption and callousness. The alligator is nipping at our ankles, and no one has a damn trash can.

I started this article intent on framing Florida Man as a metaphor for living, i.e. we’re all just doing our best to wrestle life’s endless bullshit into a garbage can. But the truth is, there will always be more alligators and more trash cans. What we’re running out of is folks like Mr. Bozzi, who have the compassion and competency to attack a problem head-on, use creative solutions, and care for their own community. What a concept.

(image: screencap/NBC News)

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Author

Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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