Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, January 26, 2009
All right. This has nothing to do with anything, but it is kind of weird/funny, so I’ll tell you about it. The other night I had a dream. I was running a basketball practice. (I’ve been coaching my son’s 5th/6th grade team this winter, so my brain idling away the night with thoughts of hoops is not at all unusual.) The practice was in a largish room, but it definitely wasn’t a gym because there were various pieces of furniture and a door to a hallway. I was walking the boys through a new offensive set. I was very excited about this because I believed it would no doubt get us some easy baskets. I had devised it myself. Super genius.
The play and its positions weren’t terribly unique. The thing that gave it an edge was that one of the players …was to be a live alligator. That’s right. Full-grown adult alligator. Conveniently, I had brought one with me. So we started walking through the play. The alligator began at the top of the key and swung around the left side. I turned to instruct some of the boys where to go and got distracted for a moment. When I looked back around for the alligator, it was gone. I said, “Where’d the alligator go?” And the boy on that side point to the door — left ajar the approximate width of a full-grown adult alligator.
Well I was kind of mad. I mean, geez-lousie, doesn’t it kind of go without saying that if you are practicing basketball in a large room with an alligator that you should naturally shut the door so the alligator doesn’t walk out? Do I have to spell out everything for these boys? But, kids make mistakes and instead of tearing into him, I decided time was probably better spent looking for the alligator.
So I told the boys to stay put and I walked out the door. As I entered the hallway, it occurred to me that I was inside a children’s hospital. Actually, I had known this previously but really wasn’t considering it until the alligator got loose. My anxiety level ticked up, but I was still confident that I could find the alligator. I mean, what else in a children’s hospital even remotely looks like an alligator? It’s gonna stick out. I strolled on down the hall looking as inconspicuous as possible in my gym shorts (which my daughter says are waaaaay too short) and whistle and high-tops. I went into rooms and looked under beds and in closets and dark corners. Then it began to dawn on me that I didn’t necessarily want to find the alligator — especially by thrusting my head under a bed.
I was making my way back to the large room and now thinking it odd that I hadn’t heard any screams. There really ought to be screams when an alligator is loose in a children’s hospital. Children’s hospital! Holy crap! Children’s hospitals are just full of slow-moving, bite-sized people. I’ve seen alligators eat whole hams, and I would think sick kids are basically talking hams to an alligator. I couldn’t remember if the alligator has been fed lately. Heck, I couldn’t even remember where I got the darn thing. Suddenly the most awful thought hit my head and my innards twisted into a hard knot: I might get in trouble for this! No, wait, no, no, no yes. Yes… Yes definitely. Bringing a live alligator into a children’s hospital is in fact something that would frowned upon.
I was standing by the door mulling this over. “Had anybody seen me bring the alligator in? Was it possible for me and the boys to slip out before somebody found it? But shouldn’t I say something before somebody gets attacked? Yes, but that might be okay because we’re in a hospital — there are people right here who are really good at reattaching things. Hmmm, no, I gotta call 9-1-1. Right. How am I going to phrase this?” …then I woke up.
Ta-da! I’ve now used this cutting edge technology to share with you and the world a very odd story, which in no way is going to move our economy forward. My work is done here.