An Excerpt From Hammerhead Ranch Motel by Tim Dorsey

Posted: January 16, 2013 in Quotes

“Florida literally, abounding in flowers, named by Ponce de Leon.  Statehood granted in 1845, first governor William D. Moseley….. flowing from the waters of the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee and through the Everglades into Florida Bay.  along the way, nurturing a low, flat Petri dish of extreme people.  The rugged, the hopeful and the damned.  Ridiculed as the place with no roots, no native residents and no culture, the land of shuffleboard and the nonregional, TV weatherman accent.    But they’re not laughing anymore.  Cocaine, Castro and carpetbaggers castrated with grooved grapefruit spoons that say ‘Life’s a Beach’ on the handle.  New residents are interned in hot, dusty trailer parks populated entirely by assholes from Illinois.  We get hit with storm after storm and walk through the rubble, whistling ‘Dixie’ and applying sunscreen.  How does that stack up against your commonwealth?  We don’t have great potatoes; we’re not the garden state, we aren’t proud to wear furry hats with earflaps and ‘Live free or die!’  We’re a twenty-four hour, dead-bolted, hair-of-the-back-of-your-neck, free continental breakfast, death-wish vacation of a lifetime, not from concentrate.  State motto?  ‘Behind you!’

It’s an experiment in natural selectivity.  We’re breeding a hardier genetic strain of American to build on the Forty-niners and Plains settlers in Conestoga wagons.  The new Florida Sooners, Jimmy Buffett’s Grapes of Wrath Tour.  Thousands come every year but few make the cut.  Most are on vacation, but often are on business.  And some are simply running toward the light.  Men with beaten-dog looks driving carloads of dirty-faced kids.  None of this is new to the old-timers.  The outsiders just started coming here in big enough numbers to get the word out.  But it’s been going on for hundreds of years, ever since the Europeans hacked and diseased the Indians in the name of God and gold.  Searching for the Fountain of Youth, which was recently discovered in the middle of a roadside attraction in St. Augustine.  From the Conquistadors and the Seminole Wars to the Civil War Battle of Olustee.  The two Henrys-Flagler and Plant-running train tracks down both coasts.  The railway that went to sea figuratively in 1912 and literally in the hurricane of 1935.  Hemingway stumbling, scribbling and brawling his way through the Keys.  German U-boats off Fort Myers.  Jackie Gleason with a pitching wedge, launching divots the size of toupees.  Cape Canaveral became Cape Kennedy until we said, “What were we thinking?’  and changed it back…..  The ’68 Republican Convention.  The ’72 Miami Dolphins.  Claude Kirk, Reubin Askew, Walkin’ Lawton.  Sinkholes, phosphate, citrus canker, Anita Bryant….. the horror…… the horror…..”

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