Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fruitless Sneaks

I hate snakes. Call it irrational, girly, predictable, whatever you want, but I seriously think all snake should die. I don't feel this way about spiders or mice--in fact, I regularly spring the traps set at the Dog House because it seems like bad, bad karma to eighty-six something so cute who is just out there trying to make a living like the rest of us. But snakes are a different story & I'm not even from a part of the world where they are poisonous.

Today, I let the dog out and two seconds later heard this awful caterwauling on the kitchen deck. I looked out in time to see a giant snake coiled up and ready to lunge at my sweet Scottie, who has a ferocious bark that should have scared the snake off. I called the dog in but the snake then glared at us, still coiled, through the window. He opened his mouth, wide, to show us what he was made of (though possibly he was just yawning and completely bored by us). The Scottie whimpered, desperate to give the snake what for. I poked at the glass and made noises meant to scare it off, but the snake just stared at me, sitting on its snake-haunches, ready to attack. He didn't leave until we walked away from the window and let him "win." I haven't let the dog out since.

There are a lot of fantastical things in the Bible--people turning to pillars of salt, burning bushes, walking on water--but I've never had a problem with believing any of it. Today, though, I'm thinking the whole Garden of Eden story is a real crock. What self-respecting woman would talk to a snake? I just don't think it would happen. They are all side-windy and slithery and awful.

At school, I regularly have female students--usually those with tattoos of pentagrams who smell of patchouli--who insist that snakes are wonderful, loving pets, but I never believe them. I think its for affect. I'm sorry--you can't curl up with a snake and watch old "Frasier" reruns, like the Scottie Dog and I did last night. What you can do with a pet snake is take it out of its aquarium in an attempt to make guests uncomfortable. That's about it. I've always thought how awful it was that cats were regularly murdered in medieval times (and beyond) because they were associated with witchcraft. How ignorant and heartless, I'd think. But snakes? It just seems like the truth--they are evil and must die.

Several years ago I had a student who was not a native speaker of English who wrote a paper in which she talked frequently about "sneaks." At the time, I pictured people who were out to get her, sneaking around her neighborhood, maybe painting racial epithets on her garage door or rifling through her garbage. After the third read-thru, it dawned on me that "sneaks" were really SNAKES. The paper was about how much she hated sneaks. Here, here.

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