What do hotel pool alligators eat?

I might as well admit it: I am one tired alligator.

My three grandkids and I were paddling around in a hotel swimming pool when my oldest granddaughter, the six-year-old beautiful Queen Alexandria, decided that I should be an alligator. The other two, the four-year-old magic faerie princess and the almost two-year-old handsome elf prince, agreed.

Fine. Those little folks and I discovered a long time ago that when we're together, it's not at all unusual for me to morph into a unicorn, or a pony, or, on the darker side, even a dragon or an orc. Adding "alligator" to the list? No problem.

The rules were, to be sure, just a bit restrictive. It was decreed that the "alligator pool," where gators actually live most of the time, would be in the deeper end of the pond. On a couple of occasions, I was ordered to paddle back over there and quit eating people.

Okay, but that brings up another question. What are hotel pool alligators allowed to eat if pint-size human swimmers are pulled from the menu?

I asked that question, and the queen answered so quickly that I suppose anyone familiar with hotel pool alligators would know immediately. Two items. The first? Seaweed.

Well, alright. Seems a little slimy to me, but, hey, it's green, and everybody's mama knows that green veggies are supposed to be good for you. My mom seemed to think "the slimier the better." Come to think of it, maybe that's why most of the hotel pool alligators I've ever been acquainted with were a little light on the "green scale." I'd thought the pool chemicals probably bleached them out. But it turns out that the chlorine which may be okay for hotel guests is not so good for most native hotel pool alligators; it deprives them of needed seaweed.

But I was glad to hear about the second food item: squirrels. Even before I was a hotel pool alligator, I was a confirmed carnivore all the way up to my canine incisors. I have trouble believing that vegetarians live longer than carnivores; I have no trouble at all believing that it must seem a lot longer. This hotel pool alligator prefers ribeyes, medium rare. But, if the alternative was a steady diet of seaweed, the alligator under my hat might find squirrels increasingly appealing.

In fact, I must have been needing some protein. I almost ate an elf-prince. It was his own fault. He was squirming in a squirrel-like fashion.

I was about to chow down when the queen got loud and frantic and burst my bubble. "Not squirrels," she squealed, "coral! Hotel pool alligators eat coral!"

Good grief. How depressing is that?! I don't think even seaweed slime in a hotel pool alligator's diet will help that kind of roughage make safe passage.

I simply can't imagine any hotel pool alligator ever thriving on a diet of seaweed and coral. That queen needs to check her facts and speak more clearly, or hotel pool alligators will soon be endangered. They're already hard to find.

Jesus spoke absolutely clearly when with love-filled eyes he looked at the little children and pronounced, "Of such is the kingdom." Yes, indeed!

But I still think she said squirrels.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at

ckshel@aol.com

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