Friday, February 24, 2012

How I Brought a Weapon, a Bomb and Terrorists Into the State Capitol

Sometimes I form ideas.
Entertaining an idea can be very dangerous.  It is not unlike entertaining a hungry pride of lions or a baby cousin. You have to be careful what direction your idea decides to go in.  At times, I think too fast and let my brains go to my head. 

Several years ago, I came up with this rather intoxicating idea to save the wetlands.  I learned at a young age that you can do anything that you set your mind to, except maybe be an astronaut,climb a mountain or change the world and a whole bunch of other stuff.

That one idea started to reproduce at an alarming rate.

I wrote a book about saving the wetlands.

I wrote a television pilot based on the book.

Went to Hollywood.  Met famous people.  Walked on the red carpet...
after the movie stars, paparazzi and cab drivers went in.

I was invited to appear on several major television shows, including Ellen DeGeneres and The Tonight Show.

My idea had morphed itself into an amalgamation of every dream I had ever had.
Don't get me wrong.  My fifteen minutes of fame was amazing and I will always treasure it, but ultimately decided to take my idea a step further.  I had an ephiphany, which is like an idea jacked up on a massive amount of steroids.

I decided that since the alligators were losing their wetland habitat due to coastal erosion that I would take one to live in my house (I couldn't leave an alligator outside...that is just dumb).  I got with the right people (yeah, I got people) and they granted me a license to have an alligator to bring to schools and functions and speak about coastal erosion.

I stoically became known as "The Alligator Lady."  It sounds way cooler when you say it outloud in a slow, deep, mesmarizing voice, not just reading it.  And, just in case anyone is wondering, it does hurt if you stick your finger in an alligator's mouth...just sayin'.

One day, I received a call completely out of the blue.  I was invited to the State Capitol to meet with the Governor for some publicity shots and simply had to fill out some documents naming the people who would be in my party,etc.  I recall that, but don't recall any  documentation about not bringing weapons.  That is something that they should send in the paperwork and make very clear upfront.

So, the big day arrived and I was very excited.  I brought my son and another child (professional actor/musician) who was in the book, the child's mom and myself.  Of course, I brought the alligator as he was the star and I knew the Governor would love him.

The child musician decided to bring in his accordion, which was in a big, black case.  He had played his accordion all the way up to the White House for the President, so it was nothing new to him.

We were a great sight.  A lot of people stared at us.  I am pretty sure they thought we were famous.

We arrived at the door, alligator and accordion in tow.  We met a grumpy man at the door in a security uniform.

He took my paperwork, looked it over and then whispered some sweet, secret whisperings into a handheld radio.  I don't know what he said but before I knew it there was either a swat team or poison control people searching us.

They proceeded to call a bomb squad because of the "bomb" the 10 year old musician was carrying and wouldn't let him open the case out of fear that it would explode.  They couldn't understand why we would be walking around carrying an accordion.   Why would we walk around carrying a bomb?

Apparently, alligators are weapons (exact words) and 10 year old boys holding a bomb and a weapon are terrorists.


Also, I was supposed to have listed the alligator on the documentation under "People in Party."
Don't get me wrong.  I am usually very proud to live in Louisiana.  We have the Saints and...Ok, that is all we have.  Texas is our sidekick, so that counts as something, but this was not one of those moments where I was real proud to say where I lived.  I pretended to be a tourist in handcuffs and did the "whistling walk-away" like I didn't know any of these people or alligators.

Eventually, contact was made to the Governor and I think she told everyone that they were nuts as she permitted us through and OK'd us (and the alligator) to come up to the upper floor.  We got our photos, after all.  I just can't leave the country...ever.


 I do have to mention this before I go:



And for the record, don't ever try telling an alligator your problems.  His advice is usually dumb and meat related.  


This is a video of one of my "terrorists" playing with Hank Williams, jr.  

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96 comments:

  1. Thanks, I really needed something to make me smile tonight.

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  2. It goes both ways, you made me smile, too. Thanks:)

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  3. Hahaha, very entertaining. Congratulations on all of your successes by the way! So, do you still have the alligator?

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  4. Thanks! I don't have the alligator anymore. I stopped public speaking and he was growing. It was fun while it lasted:)

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    1. That was hilarious. I've never had an alligator (or an accordion), but thank goodness if I ever do I'll now know to list it as "people" on official documents.

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    2. Well it is the experience that counts :) I had a guinea pig once, however, it did hurt to put your finger in her mouth.

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  5. Hey, what a great post! Such a funny story and of course the video at the end was adorable! Soooo cute and also funny to think of that little guy scaring anyone. lol Thanks :)

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  6. I love alligators, I do, but they have absolutely no manners. When I throw lavish soirees, which is all the damn time, I think up of ways not to let alligators in. They like to crash parties and no one likes that or them. I will accuse them and their companions of being terrorists, too. The authorities come, haul them away, and all is well again.

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  7. Wow. What an incredible story. An alligator, a great environmental cause, a cool nickname, an accordion prodigy (go with me on that), and a plot to blow up the state capitol, a Three's Company like misunderstanding, and a reprieve from the governor. Awesome.
    Is it industrialization that's eroding the wetlands or some other human folly?
    Great story.

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    1. Glad you like it. It is a mixture of a number of things that is causing the erosion to be so intense. The bottom line is human, but the oil companies have their hand in it.

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  8. Am I the only person wondering what happened to the alligator? Does he live in a zoo now? What a great story!

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    1. I brought him back to the Wildlife and Fisheries in Cameron Parish. That compound was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, but they rebuilt it. They probably released him back into his natural habitat. I am pretty sure he was happy about that:)

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    2. Oops, it was Hurricane Rita that destroyed it. Two different storms!

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  9. I agree with you on the wetlands. I can't wait until this spring when the idiots that put the two new "soccer fields" at the plex figure out that the meadow that USED to be there took in ALL the drainage from the north end of the woods and since they put in NO DRAINAGE, they'll be playing a lot of Water Soccer.

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    1. You are right about that. Drainage is part of the issue with coastal erosion. Manmade. I can't believe they didn't put drainage on a soccer field. Lot of muddy people...

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  10. this is why i love blogger.,, hehe, i just read this out loud,, the family loved it :)

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  11. Alligators are people. It sucks that the security was just that bad. I'd like to say I didn't see that coming, but I suppose I could kind of expect it.

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    1. It was an odd experience, to say the least. In the end, everything was fine. Thankfully, the Governor was on my side:)

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  12. Woah... this is SO surreal! Crazy story!

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    1. Thank you very much! I knew that story would come in handy one day!

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  13. Tracie, I'm so glad I found your blog. I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy getting to know you. That feeling is based on the coffee coming through my nose when I laughed at your story this morning. Great narrative with painstakingly detailed pictures, not so very unlike my blog. We're pretty great, aren't we? :D

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    1. Bill, I think we should start our own gang 'cause we totally rock the blogging world with our fantastic drawings!

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  14. OK, I just HAVE to ask what you think of that show "Swamp People"? Holy crap that is a whole other side of alligators and Louisiana swamp people like I've NEVAH seen!!!!!

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  15. haha! I have never watched the show, but have seen a segment and have no clue where they found those people or why they wanted to make a show about them!

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  16. Oh the wetlands. Wetlands are my pet environmental issue too. I'm going to have to follow you, now. Maybe together we can save them all!

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  17. Too funny! Love all your drawings. Read with a co-worker yesterday, your post on fun size candy bars. I laughed so hard I cried. New follower!

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  18. Wow. I only recently started reading this blog, and I just cannot tell whether this really happened or whether you're full of it. Either way, good job! haha

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  19. Glad you enjoyed it and this really happened, though yes, sometimes I am full of it!

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  20. It is a very small world. I visited your site because you gave brett an award. I use to work with Brett. Then I see the video with Hunter that my wife and daughter began watching a few months ago. And we live in Baton Rouge.

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    1. Awesome! Hunter is very famous now, but still an amazing young man. He moved to Nashville. Thanks for reading!

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  21. I'm smiling like a gator after this post. I have a 'swat' story too, but not nearly as funny as yours.

    Helping save the environment? You HAVE TO get arrested at least once in your life before you can be taken seriously... it's in the handbook.

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    1. Why does it not surprise me that you have a 'swat' story?

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  22. That gave the kids a story they can tell their grandchildren.

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  23. your life sounds way cooler than mine. what are the names of the books you wrote so i can look them up and buy them on amazon?

    best,
    MOV (blog writer on boring kitchens and silly dumb essays, no alligators nor Governors nor potential bomb material in sight)

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    1. I have to send you a private message with my name as I haven't revealed it to the public yet.

      I love your blog...without the bombs and Governors!

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  24. I love this post! Full of great things like alligators(which I'm frightened of), security(which always seems to single me out), and forgiving civil servants(which all should do).

    Your heart and motives are true. I hope they find a way to save the wetlands.

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    1. Thank you! I am glad you like it:)

      I hope they find a way to save the wetlands soon. Time is not on our side...

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  25. LOVE IT!!! That little kid is so stinkin cute! But where was the video of the gator? :)

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  26. I have a video of the alligator somewhere and have to look for it. We tried to make one with different types of animals and they all escaped, except for the alligator but I had him super secure. Even the turtle escaped! Still trying to figure that one out...

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  27. Awesome post.

    While I love the gator, my favorite is "Texas is our sidekick."

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  28. Haaa,
    I've been reading a bit...

    and you kind of ROCK.

    Congrats on all of your acomplishments & saving the Wet Lands. X

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  29. I'm so sorry - just couldn't help laughing at your distress.

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    1. Haha, it's OK! I laugh at myself on a DAILY basis! It wasn't funny at the time, but I love the story now.

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  30. Wait, wait, wait..... you can get a license to own an alligator? Why has no-one ever told me this! I gotta go and talk to some people!

    I wonder how that poor kid felt about having all those people freak out about his accordian case. Wonder if he's ever been able to look at it the same way again.

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    1. Haha, you actually have to have a reason to own one! The boy with the accordion is very famous now, and plays I think every instrument on the face of the Earth.

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  31. This was a great post. The title alone had me hooked! Also, what is the Alligators name, please?

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  32. Louisiana is great. It's where Sookie lives. Right? Am I right?

    In Canada you can have an alligator as a pet, no problem. We can also teleport.

    You and I, we kinda draw the same.

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    1. haha I bet you have lots of alligators in Canada!

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  33. all that you've done is better than being an astronaut,climb a mountain or change the world and a whole bunch of other stuff.

    :) nice work.

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  34. Whoa !!!!! Is the little boy you're son ? OMG ! He's awesome ! ! So cute ! And talented !

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    1. He is my friends son and he is a doll, but he is older now.

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  35. That was truly wonderful.

    Pearl

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  36. Added you to my blogroll, btw. You're too good to miss.

    Pearl

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  37. Crazy pet haver! An alligator for a pet?!?! I love it.

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  38. I had a similar epiphany at the office of the Governor. I had previously worked there and carried my computer gear with me all the time. On this occasion, I had my mini leatherman on my person and the guards wouldn't let me in. They said I had to go the 12 blocks back to my car to stow it, or they would confiscate it for me (so nice) and while a long walk seemed out of the question... I decided to add to your burgeoning list of things you don't want to do... I mentioned that the leatherman had scissors and a ridiculously small knife and that I could probably do more damage with my Phillips screwdriver....

    Yeah, don't do that.
    WG
    http://itsmynd.com

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    1. I leave my knives and screwdrivers at home when I visit Governors, but that sounds like a funny story!

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  39. I had to hold my sides with laughter reading this post.

    That said, I think security personnel are just paranoid.

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    1. Thanks for reading and yes, they were very paranoid!

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  40. funny!

    Okay. . . but Louisiana has 40% of the wetlands but experiences 90% of the wetlands loss? What are the other 60% doing right that they're only losing 10%?

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    1. Levees built keep the sediment from depositing and replenishing that area so it just erodes away instead of the sediment. Oil and gas extraction play a role in it too, that is why the oil companies pay $$ but it is only a small fraction of the cost. Costly project to help repair the damage already done.

      Thanks for reading!

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  41. Thanks for visiting my blog & for your kind comments about my post! :) I think your blog is pretty adorable too.

    I just followed your blog and hope you'll follow mine back. Thanks! :D

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    1. I'm always looking for a good blog to read! Thanks for visiting!

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  42. Replies
    1. Glad you liked it! Thank you for the comment!

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  43. Hi, Have been reading your blog and love ur style of writing, so here I am not only following your blog but also with an award for you!! Enjoy!!

    http://titli15081977.blogspot.in/2012/02/for-once-words-fail-to-describe-my.html

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  44. Did you know that you are a superhero? The only box I've ticked so far - well, today - is breakfast. ;)

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  45. I guess in Louisiana bringing an alligator to state functions is not unusual, but an alligator and accordion together is just too much.

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  46. Great post, as always! There is definitely something different about you and I love how your stories make me smile!

    You have an amazing talent, my friend. Don't ever lose who you are:)

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  47. Hilarious tale with a really good message.

    I hear that the alligator is now running for governor...

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    1. Thanks Cranface! And I heard the same thing, thought it was just a rumor!

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  48. Oh my goodness!!! I am so glad I followed you home. You are sooo funny!

    I've seen documentaries about your wetlands that are very concerning. I like how you slipped some serious business in your blog.

    That Hunter is a cutie and what a great little performer!

    I love your blog. I am following you now.

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  49. Thank you! It is always good to meet fellow bloggers!

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  50. Don'tcha just love how tight security has gotten on everything? I mean, I'd be highly suspicious of a 10 year old, because I've heard that 10 years are the biggest terrorists out there - with their bombs and... Anthrax or something. You and your adventure! Thanks for the laugh.

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  51. I wonder what goes through security's heads when they suspect a 10 year old of having a bomb?

    My father was driving on a trip with friends about a year ago and they wanted to stop in Canada. They didn't realize that you can't get into Canada anymore with just a US driver's license. You have to have a passport. But rather than let them turn around, they pulled them into an office and interrogated them for FOUR HOURS.

    Yes, my 60 year old dad was going to bomb Canada. I'm sure glad you're doing your job, security.

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  52. This is incredibly entertaining!

    On a serious note, I had no idea that Louisiana housed most of the U.S's wetlands, or that that much is lost to erosion.

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  53. This really brightened my day. The "I'm with security risk"-T-shirt was just the cherry on top. :)

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