Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What is the proper expression of fear for a man? (No, I did not scream, and that snake was awfully big)


This is a guest post by Max Reddick. He blogs over at soulbrother v.2.  I discovered Max quite by accident and since then he has moved me with his eloquence and tender heart.

Okay, I know that spring is in full swing, and summer is just around the corner;  I just had my first snake spotting of the year.  Since I have been authoring this blog, several times I have related stories of the snake problem we have around our home [See here, here, and here].  We live in a semi-rural area and have a pond in the backyard.  Plus, we have an abundance of insects which brings the frogs around the porch to dine, which, in turn, brings the snakes.

So, as spring proceeds, I have been on the lookout for snakes, and today I finally saw my first snake of this season but quite by accident.  But there seems to be considerable disagreement as to what transpired immediately following this snake spotting.

This much I know for sure.  I was returning to the house after giving final instructions to the yard man, when out of the corner of my eye I sensed movement.  So, I looked down, and about a foot from my feet, I saw what looked to be this huge snake curled up there in the shade.  This is where everything gets kind of murky though.

Just moments after I saw the snake, my wife and children came to the door and opened it, and the yard man came running around the house, at exactly the same time.  Both asked me what happened because they had heard me scream.  Of course I took the time to inform them that, no, I did not scream as I pointed at the confused but alert snake still curled up on the porch.

My wife then closed the door, leaving me still on the porch with a snake at my feet and began talking to me through the closed door.

Just then my neighbour came into the yard as did a jogger who just happened to be passing.  They were both concerned because they thought they heard a scream.  I had to inform them both that no one had screamed, as I pointed to the snake who was now making his way toward the bushes.  The jogger took the earbuds out of his ear, and made the observation that he did hear an audible, blood curdling scream even above the music he had been listening to as he jogged alone.

And just as the snake reached the bushes, Jerry the intrepid yard man reached down, grabbed the snake by the tail, swung him around and dashed his head against the side of the house several times before slinging his dead, lifeless body onto a pile of yard waste.

“There,” he told me with a smirk on his face, “He won’t be able to make you scream again.”

So, I had to defend myself because this whole screaming thing was going a bit too far.  “I DID NOT SCREAM,” I said emphatically.

By this time my wife and kids were standing in the doorway again.  “Yeah, Dad.  I think everyone heard you scream,” my son told me.  And he’s supposed to be my boy.  He defected to the other side.

I tried to continue my protest;  I tried to continue to convince them that I had indeed not screamed, but by this time they were all gathered around the pile of yard waste, inspecting the snakes remains.

One of them finally said, “That’s just a little old garter snake.  That’s no reason to scream.  Garter snakes are harmless.”

So, again, I had to defend myself:  “That’s not a little snake.  It has to be at least two feet long.  AND I DID NOT SCREAM!”

Everyone was silent for a second until someone finally said, “I guess it is big as far as glass snakes go.”  Everyone nodded.  But then around the corner comes my neighbour's wife and kids.  “Is everything okay here?  We heard someone scream.”

“NO ONE SCREAMED,” I said.  Everyone pointed to the snake.

“I knew it!  I knew it was another snake!” one of my neighbour's kids said.  “Professor Reddick is a screamer!”

So I’m like, “You better get your kids, Pete.  Get your kids.”

But let’s say I did scream.  It is possible.  I did scream when I stepped on a snake before.  But what’s so wrong with me screaming?  What’s the proper response when one sees a snake at their feet even if that someone is a man?