Misadventures of 'Florida Man' provides a constant, crazy ride

Cox NewspapersNovember 9, 2013 

This should come as a not-so-surprising revelation.

Florida is the epicenter of "strange news" stories. It's more than a matter of opinion. A few years ago, a website analyzed bizarre news stories reported by the Associated Press and found that Florida is the state most likely to spawn stories of unusual human behavior.

People behaving in bizarre ways is such a common thread in this state that "Florida" has earned its own distinct category on Fark.com, a repository of weird news.

One of the "Florida" entries on Fark this week is the story of the confused Florida grandfather who triggered an abduction scare at an Oviedo elementary school by forcibly trying to get a 7-year-old girl in his car. The girl, it turned out, was not his granddaughter, as he had mistakenly thought.

If you really want a steady torrent of humanity acting badly in Florida, it's hard to beat the online clearinghouse you'll find at (at)FloridaMan on Twitter.

"Real life stories of the world's worst superhero," reads the subtext of (at)FloridaMan.

It catalogues all those offbeat news stories that begin with the words "A Florida man ..."

There's a deep vein of human misadventures that begin with those words.

"Pepper spray-wielding Florida Man robs bank dressed as Albert Einstein ... Florida Man attempts to make 'homemade fireworks,' blows up home ... Florida Man arrested for trying to asphyxiate police dog, again ... Florida Man assaults girlfriend with her own cat ... Police find erectile dysfunction pill in Florida Man's crack pipe."

Those were just some of the real-life adventures of Florida Man during the past week. And it was just an ordinary week, too.

There is no slow season when it comes to the exploits of Florida Man. Some entries for earlier last month include:

"Mall evacuated after Florida Man sprinkles wife's ashes in her favorite LensCrafters ... Florida Man spent years posing as DEA agent just so he could get into strip clubs ... Florida Man shot while jogging home naked."

Florida Man is often drunk and horny, and invariably stupid. For an extra bit of zest, throw in armed and dangerous, as in the Sept. 28 item: "Florida Man aims semiautomatic rifle at snake, shoots urinating friend."

The real-life adventures of Florida Man are far too bizarre to qualify as credible fiction, which requires a modicum of plausibility to function. Real-life Florida Man stretches the imagination too much for that.

Florida Man has stolen an ambulance with a patient still inside, tried to pay his water bill with crack cocaine, and awakened in a hotel room without any memory but a new ability to speak Swedish.

What is the ultimate Florida Man story? Well, it's a matter of taste.

I like the ones that provide some context for Florida Man's behavior, such as these two from earlier this year: "Florida Man caught showering naked with garden hose on high school campus, blames Mexicans" and "Florida Man arrested for throwing concrete at St. Petersburg Hilton, blames zombies."

You could also make an argument for those stories that seem particularly suited to Florida, such as "Florida Man rams car with airboat" or "Florida Man slashes love rival's electric wheelchair tires, flees on pink bicycle."

I know what you're thinking. What about Florida Woman?

And yes, it's only natural that with (at)FloridaMan being so busy on Twitter, there must be some real-life adventures of (at)Flor1daWoman worth recording.

Recent entries include: "Florida Woman arrested for twerking in front of school bus full of children ... Florida Woman says dead husband trying to contact her through potato ... Florida Woman brings car back to dealership with 7-foot pet boa constrictor stuck in tail light."

But even these true-life stories don't measure up to the Florida Woman who, three years ago, caused a car crash in the Florida Keys because she was shaving her bikini area while driving to meet her boyfriend, with her ex-husband, Florida Man, helping to steer the car from the passenger seat while she shaved behind the wheel.

So why do all these things happen here? What makes Florida so strange? If you've got any theories, let me know.

Meanwhile, let's enjoy the ride.

Frank Cerabino, writes for The Palm Beach Post. E-mail: frank_cerabino@pbpost.com.

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