Don’t go in the water. Or on the land.
When I think of vacation destinations, the state of Arkansas is not the first thing that comes to mind. Or the second. Or the third. Because honestly, it actually never does. Instead, I think of places with sandy beaches and ocean views – places like Florida.
I mean seriously – who wants to go to a place located somewhere down there (no one is really sure where other than it’s nowhere near Florida), full of people with names like Bubba and Billy Bob, none of whom graduated from high school but all of whom talk funny and live in a single wide with a busted washer and a couple of rusting cars on blocks as lawn ornaments with a pick up truck on steroids parked out front.
This is the place famous because Bill Clinton lived there until Walmart bought it and turned the Mitt Romney supporting Walton family into gazillionaires by paying wages that place employees with families below the poverty line where Mitt Romney doesn’t have to worry about them.
If that wasn’t enough to keep it on the list of Top Ten Places Never to Visit (after Libya and before Somalia ), it also spawned Mike Huckabee, a former governor who is now, not surprisingly, a Fox News host who supports both Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin and Chick-fil-A “Lets-hate-gays” restaurants, because nothing says “family values” like sexual assaults, forced childbearing, and intolerance.
This is the same guy who is saturating the home-schooling market with a “Learn Our History” video series offering a revisionist version of history designed to teach children that America is really a white, Christian nation where Reagan was just part of God’s plan (“celebrate faith, religion and the role of God in America’s founding“).
But that’s not all that “The Natural State” has to offer. (Yes, that’s the motto, but only because all the good state nicknames, like “Beaver” and “Yellowhammer” were already taken.) This state also has numerous other reasons never to go there. Such as the eight foot long, 800 pound Hogzilla, the monster wild hog which may or may not exist and which may or may not have been shot in Arkansas if not Georgia or some other place down there but nowhere near Florida.
Even if it wasn’t, the wild hog population has gotten so bad that state officials are begging citizens to get out there and kill them because they are going, well, hog wild, a problem that has launched a thousand videos and a private company with the name (this is no lie) The Hawg Stopper, which (of course) is located down there. (Seriously – what other state would think up something like that?)
But that’s not the worst of it. Nope – it turns out that Arkansas has an even bigger problem: gators. Like the 1,380 pounder that one man caught last week in southwest Arkansas.
And it’s not just one: they are distributed over most of the state.
Which is not a good sign, because only two years ago, the state record was just 680 pounds.
Which means, as was recently revealed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in a secret video, that the gators have more than doubled in size as their population exploded.
Giant Gator reports are flooding in – even though this isn’t anywhere near Florida where gators are supposed to live, thriving on an abundant food supply of aging golfers.
And yet the state tourism website says nothing. Not: “Watch out for Giant Gators!” Not: “Warning! Giant Gators might eat you!” Not: “We’re begging the gators to eat the wild hogs!” Nada. Zip.
Because if I want gators, I’ll go to Florida – where, as I’m trying to not be eaten, I can at least enjoy sandy beaches and ocean views.