Florida is crawling with people who will let you watch them rassle an alligator if you buy a ticket. Those people have their reward in full. They need not aspire to the title of Feechie of the Week.
Chito is different. Chito, a Costa Rican fisherman, seems genuinely to love his crocodile Pocho. When he found Pocho, the poor croc was injured. Chito nursed him back to health, feeding him chickens and giving him medicine. (That’s the part I wonder about: how exactly does one administer medicine to a crocodile?) And then, as you might expect, he started training his crocodile to do tricks. Not for money, but to entertain his friends.
Which is to say, Chito’s career as a performer began with perhaps the greatest of all feechie utterances: “Hey, yall–watch this!” Later, his friends suggested that he start charging tourists to watch him and Pocho do their tricks. And why shouldn’t he? Good on him is what I say.
‘This is a very dangerous routine,” says Chito. “But Pocho is my friend and we have a good relationship.” A relationship, he says. With a crocodile. I’m telling you, the man is a feechie.
Here’s a little movie about Chito and Pocho. The best moment is at about 30 seconds, when Chito wears his crocodile for a hat.
Thanks to faithful readers Marie and Joe for nominating Chito for this honor.