When I was a little girl… let’s say 3rd grade or so.. our classroom took a field trip to the zoo. It was my first time at the zoo (that I can remember anyway). The zoo keeper (zooologist?) or the man with the brown shirt and hat on showed us all the snakes. He took them out and held each one of them and explained their markings, etc. We even got to hold some of them. I was so confused by this. I was always taught to believe that snakes were bad bad bad! But as it turns out they are just misunderstood. I can get down with that. I’m quite often misunderstood myself, even at the tender age of 8. I learned that day that snakes are cool and you can hold them. Fast forward about a month… I’m at my grandparents house in Walnut, Mississippi. I get pissed at my parents for something (who knows what it was at that age) and I dart off down the clay dirt road in hopes of proving to them how very angry I am and that I might just run away down county road 222 never to be seen again.. They don’t care. I’m walking along and I stumble upon a large snake by the side of the road squirming. It looks in distress. I have to help this snake! Get it to the vet! I have to help the poor misunderstood snakes of the world if it’s my very last mission on earth. I pick the snake up and it’s falling over and down both of my arms. I trot up to the house where my dad is outside in the yard. I rush up to him with my squirrly serpent and plead that we need to help him. My dads eyes become very large and he yells, ‘goddamnit’.. I guess he was still mad at me from earlier?… As I’m holding the snake there realizing that my father will be of no help to me and my wounded reptile, the dogs (skeeter boy and Bob) take the snake from each end and start playing tug of war until the snake snaps in half. With blood on my shirt and my snake friend dead I look up at my father who says, “do you know what that was?”… that was a cotton mouth snake and it would have killed you in 2 seconds if it wasn’t already dead.
I decided not to play with snakes anymore but I would continue to be misunderstood in life.