Tag Archives: Snakes

A Bite When it’s Tight or a Bite When There’s Height . . No Matter However, A Bite is a Bite

Everyone’s afraid of something. There is at least one thing and probably more in each one of our lives that give us the heebie-jeebies. Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) are probably the most frequently used examples of fear regarding creepy crawlies. It’s easy to imagine being afraid of these monsters, often appearing as the harbinger of doom in old sci-fi movies. Even now, they star as the main event because of the severe damage or even death brought about by the creature’s toxins, not to mention, the enormous amount of fodder to fuel sci-fi and fantasy novels. Just the appearance of the mottled serpent or the fur-like surface covering the hand-sized, eight-legged menace can unnerve the heart of the most stoic individuals.

Case in point: As a young man on the water in a john boat fishing, myself and two friends tied up to a small tree. This tree was probably twenty feet from the bank of a hundred foot wide river. (What I have failed to mention is one of the men was fairly good sized and terrified of snakes.) As the day progressed, much to my pleasure our catch increased. I happened to glance to my left and noticed a copperhead in the branches directly over where we sat in the boat happily casting away. Now a poisonous snake is not something I would invite into my bed; however, I was more afraid of my friend trying to get out of the boat than I was a couple glands full of venom emptying themselves into my leg. Thankfully, I was able to divert his attention and remove this snake with an oar.

Fortunately, spiders and snakes do not bother me in general. I’ll hold a tarantula, smash a wolf spider with my hand and in past years, catch non-poisonous snakes, allowing my young son to touch them and avoid fearing the scaly serpents when he became older.

I suppose the most common phobias (of which I too succumb) are claustrophobia (the fear of closed in spaces) and acrophobia (the fear of heights).

Other than hitting the ground at an abnormal rate of speed, air travel, including the heights, doesn’t bother me. On the other hand, standing on more than a half dozen stories of scaffolding on the outside of a building could push my fingerprints forever into the metal uprights of the scaffolding bucks.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, have you ever had an MRI?

Well, allow me to briefly tell you about the occurance. Imagine being pushed into a metal cylinder with your shoulders touching each side to fulfill the claustrophobic part of this event. Then, three men commence to wailing the cylinder with sledge hammers for the next forty-five minutes. Congratulations, you have experienced your first MRI.

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Any Bigger and They’d Be Man-Eaters

I rarely find myself with a lack of material to write–not so, many years ago. When I was a young lad, I spent a large portion of my time fishing in the Chickahominy River/Swamp. What I did back then to catch fish would now be labeled as crazy (e.g., walking down the middle of the river, casting to each bank so as not to miss a spot where a fish might be hanging out.)

The prize species to catch was a Chain Pickerel. We always called them Pike, and if I remember correctly, a four-pound specimen could win you a citation.

What many people do not realize is a Pickerel is prized for its white delicious flesh, considered one of the best in the fresh water world of fishing.

I remember days when I would literally have to fight a snake for a particular fishing ground. Occasionally, this confrontation would take place when I was chest deep in water. It didn’t matter to me. I came to fish!  As far as I was concerned, if need be, one of us was going to die to maintain the right to fish and it wasn’t gonna be me.

Those indeed were the days.  During the summer, I spent almost every day reeling in my share of Chain Pickerel. Not only were they delicious, but they also retained the nickname, “Wolf of the Water.” They would hit like a ton of bricks and fight every inch of the way. If you were unfortunate enough to get your hand in its mouth, well, let’s say a bear attack comes to mind.

I’ll never forget, pulling in the wonderful bounty of sweet delectable flesh, attached to a creature who was not afraid to take you on.

Yes, sir, those were the days.       

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Sometimes I Scare Myself

I’d like to step away from writing briefly to discuss several things that tend to ruffle my feathers. I would greatly appreciate your indulgence in this endeavor.deer fly

Firstly, but not necessarily in the order of importance, are tissues that come impregnated with aloe. Have you ever tried to clean a pair of glasses with one of these greasy rags? I realize, having just been told by my personal assistant, typist, muse, editorial nuisance and all around nemesis, that these particular tissues are not intended to clean transparent surfaces.  I understand this; however, when you’re driving and the only tissue in the vehicle was purchased by your wife (and all she buys are the grease choked pulp wood sheets) there’s not much choice. Especially, when your glasses are coated in three layers of thumb prints, road grime, a dozen or so insects, and a coat of road salt. And; furthermore, I don’t like wiping my nose with a tissue that feels like it’s already been used. Nuff said.

Number two: I don’t mind spiders. I don’t mind snakes (not that I want either one napping with me at night.) They just don’t bother me in the way they do some people. But, what does rip me a new one are those yellow, green-eyed deer flies. They will attack in groups of two or three with the tenacity of an enraged, rabid wolverine. If you’ve never experienced these little gems before, allow me to enlighten you.

Imagine, several half-inch long F-15’s targeting your neck and face. They land and take off at the speed of light so that each time you feel them touch down and you move to swat one, it’s too late to stop them before they have dug in. Now that you have three organic fighter jets orbiting around your head, driving you to the brink of insanity, you began to swing wildly slapping yourself in the face. Then one makes it through. He lands on an inconspicuous spot that you cannot readily reach. (Did I fail to mention they can bite through thin clothing?) While the other two keep you smacking yourself into a stupor, the third drives a quarter-inch hollow spike several inches into your musculature. This miniature blood bank siphons off a pint and is back in the air before your brain can instruct your hand to react to the carnage that has just taken place. Occasionally, you’ll pin one (more often than not) against your temple, releasing an inordinate amount of goo as the stealthy fighter turns to mush under the pressure of a lucky slap down.

And lastly within my finite little world the thing that gets my goat, burns me up, and yanks my chain are people who constantly whine about things that bother them. I steer clear of these types at all costs. I once tried to get away from myself and almost accomplished it. The problem being, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, so I eventually caught up with myself. So now you know why I’m constantly whining about people like me.

In a way it’s kind of comforting knowing there’s something I can do and do well. It’s just one of those little things that keep me going.

And before I forget, I despise slot headed screws. If old man Phillips had developed his head first, it would have saved a lot of wear and tear on my fingers and an overabundant usage of language that no one should use.

And another thing……

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I’m so Hungry I could Eat a …..

Some days the words slide out of your brain like oil across a greasy slab of ice. Today ain’t one of those days. I find myself distracted, staring out the window at our neighbor’s cocker spaniel. This little pooch spends as much time at our house as he does at his own. Of course, this special dog is so friendly it’s a pleasure to have him around.boa and mouse

Interaction with this captivating canine brings to memory a blog I posted several weeks ago, about my pal Wilbur. The story chronicled the friendship and high jinx between a boy and his alligator.

As I sat, memories of pets I had owned began to fly through the window of my brain, not unlike Dorothy’s visions in the Wizard of Oz as she spun round the interior of a tornado.

I finally reached the abyss which houses all things animal. Knowing that any resistance was useless, I closed my eyes and plunged into the dark recesses of my mind.

Note: To find vegetable and/or mineral, search: http\www.lynn\brain\vegetable\ mineral\cobwebs-detour sign.ug

Once I hit bottom, I was a young man again, old enough to drive, but too young to have developed a sense for the value of a dollar. What does one do in such a case as this?

I cannot speak for others, but this enterprising young lad slapped good money on the counter for a brand-new boa constrictor and what would become said constrictor’s first home cooked meal.

Imagine my excitement when I arrived home and began rearranging one corner of my room dedicated solely for my, as yet, unnamed pet.

An aquarium provided the general living quarters, blue gravel carpeted the floor and a piece of slate, suitable for hiding under or sunning oneself, with an all-inclusive light bulb mounted on the ceiling.

I set the scaly little beast into his new abode. Eureka! I had created a showplace including one happy little reptile of the slithering variety. I gave him a day to get used to his surroundings and then began to tackle the necessities this creature would need to survive. After all, a pet owner must be responsible and responsibility was job one as far as I was concerned.

Due to the miracle of the written word, it is now 24 hours later.

And now for that first home cooked meal… I’ll have to admit that the last statement isn’t totally accurate. It’s true that we were at home and that a meal was forthcoming; but to say “cooked” is a bit of a stretch. It’s more like rare… Okay, it’s raw and maybe even alive. I’m having a hard time determining the “alive” part. It won’t stay still long enough for me to catch it.

All right, I confess. I’m about to feed a living creature (a little white mouse) to a ravenous beast, probably among the most hated in the world–the deadly boa constrictor.

I remove the top and drop the poor little defenseless mammal in. I sit and await the carnage. The primeval battle of “hunter” versus “hunted,” which plays itself out thousands of time each day, is now unfolding before my very eyes.

At first, the prey stands very still, sensing something’s not right. The hunter, waiting, partially hidden beneath the slate, his forked tongue dancing left to right tasting the air. Then movement. Slow and cautious to begin with, turning to fast-paced whimsy as the mouse frolics around the aquarium.

He danced around the snake, over the snake, on the snake and in what I saw as the ultimate act of defiance, he bit the snake.

Needless to say I removed the mouse and a day or two later the deadly boa constrictor morphed into the dead boa constrictor.

I wonder why they literally go belly up? It’s probably a sign to remind people (such as myself at the time) who feel they have nothing better to do with their money than to purchase silly items, start a savings account.

When all was said and done at least the mouse had a nice place to live.

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