By Jason Koler & Britt Myers
The Florida Keys, and more specifically, the Lower Keys have long served as an escape for former professional athletes, artists, public figures, screwballs and those who have danced with a low to moderate celebrity. Long before social media, Amazon Prime and the 2008 financial crisis, an executive with an industrial chemical company made national headlines when a botched kidnapping on Christmas Eve forced Main Street executives to re-examine their holiday bonus practices.
Since retiring to Big Pine with his wife Ellen, Clark Griswold has advocated for safer sewers, solar energy and the restoration of old-fashioned Christmas traditions.
You were recently honored by Keys Energy Services and the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners for “Light Up the Lower Keys.” The initiative encourages residents to install energy-efficient LED lighting. How did you come up with the plan and what was your biggest challenge?
Lights on a strand are a beautiful and elegant way to showcase your holiday spirit. Anyone who uses one of those $25 projectors to light up their homes is a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, d*&^less, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey poop.
My biggest challenge was affixing the lights to the metal roof. Staples won’t work.
Your career in the food additive industry is legendary. Experts say the “Crunch Enhancer,” a non-nutritive cereal varnish, is one of those once-in-a-lifetime products with limitless applications. What practical uses have you found for it in the Keys?
It’s semi-permeable and not osmotic; like FlexSeal – only edible. I have found restaurants use it to keep fried mahi crunchy. It can also help keep the water out of your home if you are waiting on a building permit or insurance money.
Where did you evacuate to during Hurricane Irma?
Actually, we loaded up the RV and spent some time with my cousin Eddie in Canada.
He ran into some legal problems recently but is working on securing his Canadian citizenship through his Canadian cousin, Joe Mitchell.
What is your favorite Christmas movie?
“Home Alone.” I love John Hughes’ flicks. I am hoping local filmmaker Quincy Perkins can find the time to remake it. That would be awesome. I also like “Seabiscuit” for the action.
If you could have drinks with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
My old boss, Frank Shirley. After the Christmas bonus fiasco we became quiet close. He tried to swim from Key West to Cuba but was eaten by sharks.
Swallowed whole or chewed?
What is your nerdiest passion?
I like skinny-dipping in random hotel pools.
What is your most treasured possession?
Family photo albums.
If invisible for a day in the Keys, what would you do?
Find out what kind of cheese they use in the fondue at the Square Grouper.
On what occasion do you lie?
I used to lie to Ellen about my feelings, but now I only lie to the Monroe County Property Appraiser and the Monroe County Building Department. Airbnb is my best source of income.
Favorite guilty pleasure?
Eggnog and poolside bikini fantasies.
What job would you be terrible at?
Politics. But I would be one hell of a power forward for the Lakers.
Finish these sentences …
Fried pussycat is best served with … Keys Mango Chutney (also goes well with Key deer).
Is your non-nutritive cereal varnish gluten-free? Kiss my ass.
The worst place I’ve ever woken up with my face sewn to the carpet is … County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy’s house.
If I had to choose between shitt’n rocks or shitt’n bricks I would choose … neither. Rocks and bricks are inappropriate. Shitt’n conchs is more like it.
My friends and family would describe me as … Dr. Rosenpenis. Or Dr. Rosen. Or Dr. Rose’NRose. Wait, where is the records room?
My autobiography would be titled … “I’m Clark Griswold, and You’re Not.”
When I go, I will go … in a station wagon.
If they were to make a movie based on my life I would be played by…Zac Efron.