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| Flotsam |

Coconuts, Delicious or Deadly?

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When I first arrived in Miami, I was happy about all the coconuts. I bought a machete and looked forward to lavish coconut-splitting parties, involving rivers of rum and armies of women. The day never came.

And now I hate the coconuts.

They’re everywhere. And frankly, I’m beginning to think they’re a danger to us all.

I mean, they do just fall. You know. They might just fall on your head. They probably already have.

Why have we filled our city with deadly, missile-pregnant death-shrubs?!?

I called the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s office and demanded to know where all the coconut bodies were being buried. “You know,” I said to some poor woman with a heavy accent, “the ones who come in with their brains oozing out their ears, probably with some traces of husk mashed into the back of their heads.”

She transferred me to her supervisor’s voice mail. Eventually, I had left messages with the director and the lady that handles all the statistics.

In lieu of actual information, I turned to the blogosphere.

Indeed, random internet searching reveals that they’ll kill you in a heartbeat.

The internet abounds with hackneyed statistics. In fact back in 2002, the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark expert, George Burgess, got into a shit heap by quoting a bum statistic put out by some Limey travel insurance firm.

Then, it occurred to me that hurricanes might turn them all into veritable cannon-ball machine guns – blasting homes and vehicles with terrible volleys of destruction and doom.

“They do come down,” admitted meteorologist Larry Lahiff of the National Hurricane Center. “I would think the strong winds would aggravate the situation.”

When asked about the machine-gun effect, Larry admitted that he was not really an expert on damage assessment.

So kids, we just don’t know. We’ll probably never know. I suggest helmet laws. Or an annual naked coconut rum party. If we harvest these things all at once and drink rum out of them, naked, we may all just have a shot at surviving.

P.S. Shortly after the completion of this screed, Veronica Lamar (22 years at the County Medical Examiner’s Office) called back. “To my knowledge, we have never had a case of someone dying from a falling coconut,” she said. -- Calvin Godfrey

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