The bonkers, inept Florida Man — or #FloridaMan, as he is known on social media — has achieved an enviable national renown. Classic examples would be “Florida Man Attacked During Selfie with Squirrel,” or “Cops: Florida man arrested for attempting to break into jail.” Police said, “He just wanted to visit friends.”
I always thought #FloridaWoman deserved equal billing when I learned that Donna Betts, wife of Allman Brothers Band cofounder Dickey Betts, brandished a rifle on her dock and threatened to shoot rowers from the Sarasota High School crew team — but that is not the subject of this column.
#FloridaMan is alive and well in New England. Introducing: #NewHampshireMan.
The parallels are eerie. #FloridaMan inevitably tangles with wildlife, usually alligators, e.g., “Florida man threw live gator in Wendy’s drive-thru window, police say.” Where critters are concerned, #NewHampshireMan is no pussycat: “New Hampshire man accused of trying to bite police dog during arrest,” the Globe reported in 2019. Better yet: “Police: NH man chokes coyote to death after it attacked child near pond.”
Exotic pets on the loose is another shared theme of the Sunshine and Granite states. Just last fall, an escaped 40-pound African serval cat named Spartacus — acquired from a Florida zoo — was roaming the streets of Merrimack, N.H. Spartacus was safely recovered several days later.
In this category, Florida will not be outdone. According to Atlas Obscura, liberated green iguanas, rhesus macaque monkeys, and, notoriously, Burmese pythons have the run of the state. The massive pythons compete for prey with the ubiquitous alligators.
Florida being Florida, Super Bowl LIV in Miami featured a Super Bowl python hunt, with Governor Ron DeSantis posing alongside a python skin football at the kickoff media event. (“Grotesque” – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.) As former Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry so often observed: I am not making this up.
#NewHampshireMan likes his wackadoodle politics. Case in point, one Jason Daniel Riddle of Keene, who was arrested for participating in the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill and told a local TV station he “chugged” wine found in a lawmaker’s office. Riddle later informed NBC10 Boston that he planned to run for office in 2022, although he apparently confused the US Congress and the New Hampshire state Legislature in an interview.
Separate case: When a woman showed up to vote in Exeter, N.H., a poll worker told her to remove her “McCain-Hero/Trump-Zero” T-shirt. She did so, and voted naked from the waist up.
Florida has its own iconoclastic political aspirants. Babson College alumnus Boyd Corbin has run for mayor of Wilton Manors several times, despite having been “arrested for attacking a drag queen with a lit tiki torch while dressed up as a Ku Klux Klan member,” according to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times. The charges against Corbin were later dropped.
When #NewHampshireMan roams outside the 603 area code — watch out! Stamford, Conn., police say they arrested an “intoxicated” New Hampshire resident carrying a handgun outside a restaurant. A witness told police the man said “how he hated Connecticut, and how he hated the gun laws here and they should be like the gun laws in New Hampshire.”
Earlier this spring, windows rattled in Massachusetts when police said a resident of Kingston, N.H., ignited 80 pounds of explosives as part of a gender reveal party. For heaven’s sake, let’s keep that nuttiness north of the border, OK?
And congratulations — it’s a boy!
Alex Beam’s column appears regularly in the Globe. Follow him on Twitter @imalexbeamyrnot.