Jake the alligator man and why my daughter has a new sweatshirt

There are the things that dreams are made of, and then there are the dark remnants that drift into our nightmares.

Consider Jake the Alligator Man. He fully intrigued me as a child, even captured my attention into young adulthood. I grappled with the facts of his leathery, dark hide looking for the stitch line that proved a human head had been attached to an alligator’s body. I could never find the seam.

Perhaps, I believed he was real. Perhaps, that tainted the story as I spun the tale of the alligator man to my daughter and promised she would meet him.

“Some folks claim Jake the Alligator Man was a valet in a New Orleans whorehouse,” I read from the complimentary brochure provided by Marsh’s Free Museum. “Others claim to have seen him in carnivals, crawling around, nods of his head communicating yes or no.”

My daughter grew astonished at the prospect of being face-to-face with Jake the Alligator Man.

She should have been sickened. I don’t think even a mother could love his face…but she wasn’t repulsed by JAKE.

Instead, she was disappointed in the way only a teenager can truly experience.

It’s the one thing, the most important thing your mom neglects to explain which destroys all your hopes in life.

“I thought he would be ALIVE!” she roared when she finally saw him behind the glass case. She crossed her skinny little arms over her chest and stated, “You owe me.” Her eyes narrowed in on me. “Buy me a hoody.”


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