I had wanted to keep this secret for a while longer but it looks like the word is out. I guess this is as good an opportunity as any to introduce you to my pal, Gene. Gene is the alligator that has been roaming the area and getting a lot of publicity. I am responsible for his being in Cobb County.
I met Gene a few years back at a Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville. He was an unhappy alligator and ready to leave Florida. After a couple of beers, Gene told me he had always wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog. Bless his heart.
Gene had long been unhappy with the University of Florida. He found their college mascots — Albert and Alberta — an embarrassment. Gene said they look like chenille bedspreads, and cheap ones at that.
He thought the Gator Chomp, or whatever they call it, a bit sophomoric. You know the bit where a bunch of drunks flap their arms while the band plays the theme from “Jaws.” Gene wondered why they chose a song from a movie about sharks instead using the theme song from “Alligator X.” I told him that nobody has ever heard of “Alligator X.” Gene was surprised. He said the movie starred Lochlyn Munro as Sheriff Tim Richards and Debby Gaudet as Lefty and was his personal favorite.
Gene was aware that I had some involvement in the University of Georgia and that it was the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South. Gene also knew that we have had 19 Rhodes Scholars, more than all the other colleges in the state put together, including the You-Know-Who Institute of Technology. He said he learned this from reading my columns and that I tended to repeat those facts frequently. I was impressed. Gene had clearly done his homework.
I told Gene that even with a little walking-around influence at UGA, I wasn’t sure I could ever convince them to allow an alligator to be our mascot. Bulldogs have been our mascots for a long time and everyone seems pretty satisfied with them.
Gene said if it would help, he would be glad to eat the current Uga and create a vacancy. I said that would not be a good idea and would just cause hard feelings.
Gene started to get agitated. I don’t know a lot about alligators but I don’t think it is a good idea to get them agitated, particularly after they have had a few beers. I told him I would try to work something out in Athens and suggested that he come back to Cobb County with me and I would get him some odd jobs to tide him over until I could talk to the folks at UGA. That is how Gene ended up here.
While things are still iffy in Athens as far as the university goes, the good news is that Gene has done extremely well in Cobb County as an independent contractor. He has a good work ethic.
His primary assignment is to hang around the Chattahoochee River and keep an eye out for anybody from Atlanta trying to sneak into Cobb County. I told him it was likely a lot of them would be coming over to use our flush toilets because the sewers don’t work in Atlanta.
I complained to Gene that Cobb County has too many yappy little bug-eyed dogs — at least in my neighborhood. I had been hopeful that coyotes would take care of that problem for me but they have been a big disappointment. Gene says no problem; he eats coyotes as well as yappy little bug-eyed dogs.
Gene knew that there was a lot of debate going on about people keeping chickens in their yard and said if that was an issue, he would be happy to eat all the chickens. I said I would pass that along to Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, who isn’t keen on chickens in his city.
However, I warned him that he might earn the enmity of State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), a longtime chicken-rights advocate. Gene wanted to know if maybe he should eat Rep. Ehrhart instead. I said absolutely not. Earl Ehrhart is a source of great quotes. I told Gene I don’t begrudge him eating a politician, but to just be sure they are humor-impaired and self-important. Gene said that gave him a lot of leeway.
I hope you feel more comfortable about Gene and why he is in Cobb County. If you happen to see him along the river one day, don’t be frightened. Just yell “Woof! Woof!” and watch him grin. This gator is a Bulldog through and through.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.