06 October 2011

Florida Study Shows Texting While Alligator Wrestling More Dangerous Than Previously Thought

WTF: Where’s That Finger?

Tallahassee, FL -- Sending text messages via telephone while wrestling an alligator is even more dangerous than previously thought, researchers at Florida State University’s Institute for Behavioral Obviousness announced today, following a two-year nationwide study.

“While it may seem like no big deal to text, just taking your eyes off the alligator or letting your mind wander for even a second can mean the difference between two hands and one hand,” said lead FSU researcher Jackson Dundee. “Sure, you tell yourself, ‘Everybody else does it, and I need to tell my wife I’m running a little late.’ But it’s going to be pretty hard to text when you’ve got no more fingers, mister.”

Statistics from the Florida State Highway show that arrests for texting while alligator wrestling reached a record high last year, up 30 percent from 2009.

ROFLMAO: Risking Ostentatious Finger Loss
Main Attraction in Orlando

“People don’t realize how time-consuming gator wrestling is,” Florida native Cletus Spuckler said. He has been wrestling alligators since the age of five, he said, and he finds on-the-job texting a necessary risk. “Sometimes you can’t take a break, and you have to get in contact with somebody on an urgent basis. Or maybe you just want to order Chinese. What are you gonna do?”

FSU researchers surveyed a random sampling of 4,381 alligator wrestlers in 39 states, comparing results with emergency rooms nationwide. While safety experts have long warned against the presumed dangers of texting while wrestling, “Now when people ask us, we’ve got something to point to,” said Sarah Griffin of the Florida Safety Council. “That is, those of us who can still point.”

The study’s surprising conclusion has attracted attention already. “It seems there is no longer any situation in which Americans consider it inappropriate or inadvisable to send text messages,” said Dr. James Hook, a behavioral scientist at Balliol Junior College in Oxford, FL.

“Schoolchildren do it in the classroom. Employed people do it on the job,” Hook continued. “You’re doing it right now, while you’re trying to interview me. Put that thing down!”

Despite the warnings, many alligator wrestlers say they are likely to continue to send text messages while at work.

“I’m an adult in a free country, I know the risks, and I know what I’m doing,” Spuckler said. “I mean, it’s not like I’m texting while driving. You’d have to be crazy to do a fool thing like that.”

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