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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

My fear of snakes is justified... trust me

Friday, October 12, 2012

At each place I've landed over the years I usually introduce myself as someone who loves hot and spicy food, college football, and almost all things south. I reserve the "H" word for only a couple of things.

I was raised in states where villanous polar bears and penguins could be punished in the afterlife. Therefore, I'm sorry, but I loathe winter. That's why you won't hear me complain when it's 98 degrees and everyone needs (should apply) an extra layer of antiperspirant. I always consider the other extreme and enjoy soaking up the sun.

The best thing I can say about winter is that the snakes hate it more than I do.

Note for any PETA reps out there: I am an animal lover. I practically had my own zoo growing up. I just hate, yes, hate, snakes. Before you try to convince me otherwise, perhaps you should know my background with the slithering, no-neck, beady-eyed, forked-tongue pet of Satan.

I was a 7th grader in a small town with a small school where students in grades 7 through 12 attended the same building. When you're a 7th grader, 9th graders, well, they kinda rock, especially if they'll have anything to do with a 7th grader.

One of those 9th graders called me up on a hot summer Saturday and asked if I wanted to play basketball. My bike was in need of repair, so Trey, who lived about a half-mile down the road, rode his bike to my house and allowed me to ride with him the final mile or so to the gym. We played one-on-one and games of H-O-R-S-E for hours until our scrawny muscles screamed 'NO MAS!'

I'm sure Trey would have rather I had walked home, but he was nice enough to peddle in that direction. We were probably only a quarter-mile from my house, coming to a bend in the road, when Trey spotted a snake crossing just in front of us. As Lewis Grizzard would say, all snakes might as well be copperheaded water-rattlers. But Trey said it was "just" a garter snake, and saying things like, "Cool, this'll be great for my biology class." It sounded to me like, "Hey Kyle, I'm going to pick up this anaconda. You might want to run for your life."

The snake, which he claimed was only about 18-inches long, while I guesstimated it at nothing short of 16 feet, was headed for the ditch when Trey picked it up and tossed it on his shoulder. By this point I was about 25 yards away and making a B-line for my house, hopping frantically over every stick, jumping to assumptions that they were relatives of the snake Trey had kidnapped. Trey had traveled maybe 12 feet on the bike when I heard it crash, followed by him yelping like a puppy whose paw had been stepped upon.

I asked Trey what was going on, as he sat on the edge of the road with the bike at his side. He said something about the snake biting him. My dislike for snakes was already well known, so I assumed Trey was just wanting to pull a prank on me, hoping I'd get close enough to him so he could toss it on me. I'm certain I would have never seen the 8th grade had that been the case.

Trey was either in serious pain or was doing one heck of an acting job when an elderly neighbor drove by, stopping to ask if she could help. Trey told her he was fine, but I could see in his eyes he was fighting back something. When the neighbor pulled away, I demanded Trey prove to me the snake was indeed biting him. He pulled back his gym shorts and showed me his blood-stained underwear.

It seems Trey had been so comfortable with the snake that he had allowed it to crawl all over his body. The problem occurred when he began peddling the bike. He apparently pinched the snake, which decided to pinch back in an area where, let's just say, no man should ever be pinched by a snake. And, since snakes have no fingers, the method for this snake's pinching was just as you would imagine.

At this point, I am hopping up and down on the other side of the road, yelling for Trey to kill the snake, which apparently had a firm grip with its row of small, yet razor-sharp teeth. WhenTrey would try to pull the snake away, it only clamped down tighter. Finally, after about three attempts, the snake let go. Trey jumped up and stomped it.

I'm sure we conversed as he drove me to my house, but I can't recall a thing that was said. It was probably hard to hear with the deafening noise of my heart beats.

Trey dropped me off at my house, and as quick as I could relay the chain of events, my father was on the phone with Trey's father, before Trey even reached his house.

Trey would be rushed to the only clinic in our town, where he received a tetanus shot, or two, from the incident.

I, meanwhile, was scarred for life.