She Bought Mothballs

With any luck, I saved a life yesterday, all because I got there first.

Wow, when I put it that way, it sounds so cool.

Like a lot of people, I’ve got a love/hate relationship with social media these days.  I love the fun, happy stuff, but not so much the opinion stuff (that was the nicest way I could put it).  One of my least favorite types of post, especially if I get there after a bunch of people have commented, is the snake post.

Yes, the snake post.  As in, “OMG, I found a snake near my house.”

I get it.  I have fears, too, some irrational.  Heights is mine.  I’ll go up, I’ll look around, I’ll do what I want to do, but that doesn’t mean I won’t feel queasy while I’m doing it.  Fun fact about me: Standing on a 35-feet-tall tower makes me nauseous, but once I can hang off it on a rappelling rope, still more than 30 feet off the ground, I’m fine.  Adrenaline, I guess.

Snakes, though. The fight or flight thing, the cultural thing, the what-I-learned-in-church thing, and even the “did you see the size of that thing” thing: I get it, but honestly, I sort of don’t.  Like I said, that’s not my fear.  For sake of discussion, though, I get it.

Back to me saving a life: I opened up Facebook early yesterday, and saw where a co-worker of mine posted that she had been surprised to walk out of her house to find “THE MOST GIGANTIC BLACK SNAKE!!”  Yep, two exclamation points.  It was that big!

I immediately looked at the comments, fearing the worst.  For some reason, people usually encourage the snake’s demise.  For some other reason, people often share pictures of snakes they’ve cut into pieces to show how they handle them.  Sigh.

But, there were no comments. Ha!  I was the first–she had just posted it!

Quickly I typed, “Good news: He’s harmless. 🙂 I understand not liking him, but he’s harmless. You could pick him up if you wanted to. You probably don’t, though.”  Upon a bit of further reflection, I added, “Actually, if it’s that big, it’s probably a she.”  Big black snakes here in north Alabama are usually grey rat snakes, but sometimes black racers.  Again, both harmless.

And it worked!  My friend’s reply was to hope “she” didn’t have any babies around, but she (my friend, not the snake)–and the commenters that followed–didn’t figuratively pile on the snake.  Whew!

I’m glad the snake made it, and I’m glad my friend was okay after her experience.  Most of the snakes we encounter in my area are non-venomous and harmless to people.  Mice, voles, and rats though?  They don’t much care for the snakes, and that’s fine with me.

4 thoughts on “She Bought Mothballs”

  1. Snakes are not really my fear either, though I’m always startled when I come across one. But once I’m over the startle, I think they’re fascinating. I am glad you were able to intervene. I enjoy following David Steen on Twitter because people send him photos of snakes to identify!


  2. My big takeaway was how by being the first to post you (likely) guided the whole dynamic of others’ reactions. I love how by mentioning that the snake was probably female, readers started imagining it as a mother! No violent, anti-snake commenters dared post hatred after that 🙂
    Hmmm, maybe a parable for our times?


  3. So much resonates with me here – like, social media issues. I won’t go there, either, just sayin’. Sometimes hiatus is a necessary thing. And the snake … my Granddaddy told me “never skill a black snake, they eat rats and mice.” I saw him dispose of several copperheads, though, considering he had young grandchildren running around outside at his country home place. I am glad for your story-snake, that it got to live. Not my favorite creatures, but I don’t fear them like I once did (well, ok, let me not tempt a big one into appearing). Saw a small black racer rippling out of my garage recently – we just went our separate ways, the snake and I, and that was that. Do you suppose folks feel like grand warriors when they chop up a snake and share photos?? (You really don’t have to answer!)


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