Thursday, February 21, 2008

snakes, bears and morons.

I have a theory that most every person has at least one irrational fear. Mine is snakes.

Most any other animal will attract my interest, from a lowly beetle to an elephant. I’m truly impressed and enamored with living creatures. Dead ones, not so much - they tend to smell.

But for whatever reason, snakes, despite their beautiful skin and fascinating habits, creep me the fuck out.

Maybe it’s a combination of lack of legs, fangs, poison sacs, evil looking eyes and poor table manners. I’m not sure. I do know that I have always feared them and despite repeated attempts to face up to my ophidiophobia, I invariably find myself walking away (yes, walking. You should never run away from danger unless it is already chasing you. Remember – never panic). So I accept my fear, and it isn’t wholly unhealthy.

A side effect to my serpent aversion is that I know a great deal about them. I will watch any documentary about them, including Snakes on a Plane.

So when my television jumped up and attacked me while on a self imposed coffee break, I was very happy to find a snake doc on the National Geographic channel. Work day ruined again by working in a home filled with more interesting things than my project.

This show was one in a series featuring a Dr. Brady Barr. It was factual, to a point. Mainly the point being don’t go chasing snakes. That is just stupid. Chasing the 7 most dangerous snakes is beyond stupid. After that it was sheer entertainment watching a grown man scream and holler while acting the exact opposite of any National Geographic sponsored scientist I have ever seen. Did the Fox network take over at some point?

Dr. Brady Barr is an idiot. He is in the same vein as the Croc Hunter.... oh how I loved to watch the croc hunter.

I realize that to many Australians Steve Irwin is a national hero. In my humble opinion, he should only be considered heroic in creating a long series in how not to deal with wildlife. I am prepared for your angry comments, Australia. Bring it.

I’m not the first person to point this out. I hope I’m not the last.

My favorite Steve Irwin moment was when he visited North America for the first time to visit the wildlife. He went to a refuge where some black bears were kept in an enclosure. With a surly ranger at his side, the idiotically brazen Croc Hunter got closer and closer to a bear with open arms, apparently hoping for an actual bear hug . As so many times before, I waited, holding my breath, waiting for that bear to do what I wanted to do; lay a smack down on the schmuck.

Moments before the inevitable and fatal bitch slap, the ranger stopped everything and a stern lecture was delivered.... most of which was clearly edited out.

I am sad that Irwin died, but I sure wasn’t all that surprised. I know there were more than a few sleepy crocs that were probably secretly pleased.

I would agree that we need certain people able to take on dangerous animals that venture into toilets and wood piles. If I had a death adder in my bathtub, I would be frantically calling an Irwin type person, probably from a phone booth several blocks away. But do you need to poke these poor scary animals in their own homes? And is all the screaming and hysterics really necessary?

Perhaps it is, because I must admit that my attention is drawn in to possible disaster. However, I’m not proud of this weakness. I will watch nearly anything on my happy little picture box.

By the way, if you do run into a snake, poisonous or not, the right thing to do is exactly what I end up doing by default... stay still... paralyzed still.

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