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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Snakes ..Yuck!


I just finished reading a news article about a pilot of an Australian airplane forced to make an emergency landing when a snake slithered itself onto the dashboard. The pilot said his heart started beating so fast because the snake was resting on the transmit button he needed to push to make his May Day call. He landed safely and a snake handler was there to greet him but I bet he will have nightmares.

It's stories like these that make me shiver because I'm not ashamed to say that I'm scared of snakes. I don't care  how important of a role snakes play in our ecosystem by keeping us from being infested with rats, insects, and other creatures. There are several caves that house these hideous reptiles; I wouldn't mind if we bombed every one of those caves.

I guess being afraid of snakes is something I was born with and never got over it. I remember when I was in Fort Polk, Louisiana there were signs warning us not to sit down because snakes were prevalent in the area. Years later, I quickly left a roadside park that had a similar sign. I was born in the city; I was not used to the country critters, especially snakes.No,I won’t ever watch movies like “Snakes on a plane” or “Anaconda.”

I was first exposed to a lot of snakes when I was working for the Texas Highway Department and three incidents stand out. My first encounter with snakes came while I was driving a sickle mower that had sharp triangle blades that went in a rapid in-and- out motion to cut tall grass. I was on loop 175 atop a large embankment of an overpass when my sickle blades stopped; thinking it was a piece of wood, I raised the long blade housing in a vertical position and pulled another lever to release the object. I looked up and saw a very large snake on its way down toward me. The badly wounded snake fell right on top of my tractor and I quickly jumped off the tractor causing it to smash against the railing. My boss was patrolling the area so he saw the whole thing. As he was approaching me, he kept asking me if I was all right; I'm told him that I didn't care if he fired me for the tractor damage and then he burst out laughing and said that he couldn't wait to tell the rest of the guys.

Everyone had a snake story at the highway department and they were all funny.

After hearing the about my snake encounter, the jokesters in our crew couldn't resist their pranks, whenever an opportunity arose. They used rubber snakes, ropes, and rattle noises to spook me. We had a special crew from Yoakum that operated the real heavy equipment and they brought with them their Bohemian/Czech humor they were known for. One particular day we were cleaning bar ditches alongside the Port Lavaca, Hwy and I noticed that the crane operator was putting some dirt aside, instead of just filling the dump trucks. I was third in line but he motioned for the other truck drivers to move so he could fill up my truck. Silly me, I thought he was giving me a special privilege of some sort. I thought nothing else about it until I went to dump my dirt load, looked back and saw three snakes wiggling themselves out the dirt towards the cab of the truck. I quickly rolled up my windows, locked the door,raised the bed, slammed on my brakes and then looked back to make sure every ounce of dirt and snakes disappeared and at the same time, put the truck in forward while the bed was still being lowered. You can only imagine all the belly laughs I received as they saw my truck returning to the work area.

 Those first two incidents were good- natured fun but one day my natural instinct took over when a new hand tried to scare me with a real snake. I've told him in a serious and loud voice to stop but he kept coming at me, so without thinking I picked up a hammer and threw it at him barley missing his head. The other guys chastised him for going too far. I thought the incident was kept quiet but a week later we had a rare safety meeting where our boss played a couple of videos: one was an about horse play in the work place and the other was about poisonous snakes in our area..I wonder if our crew boss reported the incident to our real boss? That's the way we used to take care of incidents back in the good old days.

This is south Texas, so I know everyone has a snake story, so feel free to share.

Here is the link to the snake and pilot story.


Edith Ann said...

I have no use for snakes.

Mike said...

That probably includes the two-legged kind...:-)

Edith Ann said...

lol! That's true!

Anonymous said...

Last evening as we drove through the creek by the house I reminded my wife to be on guard for snakes. No sooner was I entering the backdoor when a 9" water mocassin slithered next to my feet. Yep, he was much more scared of me. The four remaining pieces are no longer scared. ;)

Mike said...

Dale,there is not a snake in the world more scared of me, than I am of Every snake is a cobra to me.

I used to work with a man who quietly walk up to them reach and grab their tails and snap their necks.So he said..being a smart ass fresh out of school I lost some brownie points with him when I told him of what I learned in biology..I said that a snake does not have a backbone,it's all head and body,so the cranium cannot be snapped ...That was a teachable moment for me;I learned when to keep my mouth shut....Another old timer walked up to me and said "how can you argue with Emil,he has been with the dept. for 25 years." ..:-)

Glad you came out all right...Have a Happy Easter.

Mike said...

Tonight I will eat my last fish fillet for a while..:-)

My know-it-all nephew is coming down and we will probably have our usual "when does Lent end" debate...It's a complex formula because it's 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter but Sunday's does not count..Short story, some think Lent ends on Sat. and some Sunday (and some don't care) but I have always picked Saturday and for some reasons it irks like to tell him that I'm probably exempt anyway because I'm diabetic...I'll keep my iPad by my side..:-)

I didn't know that camera stores have vanished from Victoria.....Houston has the Wolfe/Ritz and the Camera Exchange but that's about all...I guess the Best Buys (who are not well stocked in Victoria) and Wal-Mart did them in... I just wanted a lens hood and quick connect tripod attachment for my Canon but I couldn't find one...I know, like the stock clerks told me "we can order them for you" but I can do that genius.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate the occasion or happy weekend for those that don't...Can you believe it's this hot in April?

Open thread weekend.

Robert Jordan said...

Food for thought:

Google snakes with legs. Take what you find and check your King James Bible at Genesis 3:14. "on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. "

Anonymous said...

A point we finally agree on, Mike. The only good snake is a dead snake.