A Layman’s Observations of Applied Herpetology



Image is to scale and quite accurate I might add.


I just wanted all of you to know Budge has a final goodbye post from me in the event of my unforeseen and untimely demise. I thought y’all should know that because she almost had to upload that document Monday morning.

I dropped Budge off at school and returned home before 8:00 AM. It was quite cool Monday morning so I thought it would be the perfect time to tear down the pool pump and filter for its long winter’s nap. It’s usually a dirty, unpleasant job and, given my large man propensity for sweating, not something I like to do in direct sunlight.

So, beginning the task, I went to my ManCave workshop for the tools I would need for the job minus — of course — the obligatory “wrench-that-I-knew-I’d-need-but-swore-I-wouldn’t”. I walked to the pump, sat the tools down, used the screwdriver to remove the intake and outlet hoses, tried to take the filter seal loose with a wrench that was close, but not the right one because I didn’t want to walk back to the workshop, let that wrench smash my hand between the filter housing and seal, cursed loudly, went back to the workshop to get the aforementioned forgotten correct wrench, returned, and removed the filter from the mounts. I took the filter around to the hose to wash it and went back to get the pump. I unplugged said pump, reached down, grabbed the pump, heaved it up, glanced down, and nearly soiled my undergarments.

Right where my hand had JUST been engaged in lifting the pump,  lay coiled the unholy hybrid offspring of an anaconda and a king cobra. I’m quite certain he also had some western diamondback rattlesnake somewhere in his family tree because I’m positive I heard a buzzing rattle as he coiled to strike me down where I stood. He was no less than 25 feet long, big around as my sizable thigh with six-inch sabertooth fangs dripping with neurohemocytotoxins heretofore unknown to man.

How such a huge serpent managed to squeeze under a filter platform barely 2′ x 2′ square, I’ll never know. He must have had some sort of extradimensional space-time altering mind powers.

Confronted with this massive specimen of reptilian death machinery, I did what any red-blooded American male would do in such a circumstance — I screamed like a little girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Afterwords, I turned to run, forgetting that I still had the pool pump — all thirty pounds of it — in my hands with the cord still dangling between my feet. As I turned, I managed to step solidly on this particular cord. This action, true to Newtonian physics, caused the pump to jerk out of my hands and land — all forty pounds of it — directly on the top of my Croc-clad left foot. That would be the one with the badly ingrown toenail. Twenty five pounds of the filter crushed my instep while the other twenty-five pounds found that very toe.

However, at the time I was dropping the sixty pound pump onto my Croc-clad foot and severely ingrown toenail, I was in the process of turning AND accelerating to Warp Factor 9 like the Starship Enterprise running from an Imperial Star Destroyer. All this pain, acceleration, and torque had the effect of causing the thought-producing portions of my brain to say, “The hell with this, I’m going to Florida” at which point my lower limbs, now leaderless, tripped over the seventy pound pool pump and came crashing to the dew-soaked grass in a heap of agony completely at the mercy of Kaa the Python.

Luckily, no one was around to witness this debacle except Jack, my beloved dog, who had watched the whole scene with typical canine stoicism. Seeing me in distress, he promptly did what he always does when I nearly break my neck and end up on the ground, like the two times I flipped the riding lawn mower over on top of myself. He sauntered over and licked me on the cheek that wasn’t plastered to the ground.

The faithful dog saliva had the effect of breaking the mind control spell force field cast on my by the 18″ long, thumb thick Eastern Dusty Pine Snake still curled up in the depression where the eighty pound pump had been seconds ago. As I climbed unsteadily and extremely painfully to my feet, the little fellow began to very slowly try to make an escape. He was sluggish with morning cold and probably terrified at the surreality playing out before his bright, beady little serpentine eyes.

I figure his cold-induced torpor was what made it so easy for Jack’s doggie kiss to break the formidable illusion the poor thing had obviously cast as his first line of defense.

I’m not the reincarnation of Steve Irwin by any stretch, but I refuse to kill anything that is not actively attempting to harm me or someone (human, feline, or canine) under my care. If I had to kill my own meat instead of buying it from the insulating safety of the supermarket, I would be a vegan or, more likely, starve to death. If I accidentally run over a frog hopping across the road after a downpour, the rest of my day and a good chunk of the next one is ruined.

With that in mind, I went BACK to the workshop and got my six foot long rod with the crook on the end I keep for just such an occasion. Returning to the narrow fellow in the grass’ burrow, I gently lifted him up with the crook and carefully deposited him over the back fence near a large brush pile that he will likely find much quieter and safer than a burrow under a ninety pound pool pump.

Love y’all and don’t forget to check the tub for Mr. No Shoulders before you wash those feet!

3 responses »

  1. For the record, the best made up word I’ve heard in a long time, was “neurohemocytotoxins”! Love that! For a guy afraid of snakes, you must either read up on them, or watch a lot of Animal Planet. 🙂

  2. Thanks for linking me to this great blog post. I’m a big fan of good, and humorous writing, and found this blog refreshing. I’m glad you didn’t become another snake-related death statistic after being confronted by such a formidable adversary. I’m a little concerned by your innate knowledge of Justin Bieber concerts, and encourage you to blog a little more about how this started. On a side note – it is advised to have a partner with you whenever attempting to work on pool pumps in excess of 6.5 pounds dry weight, as the exponentially increasing gravitational force imbued upon the object during times of duress will far exceed the strength of ordinary men. 🙂 The more you know….

    We’ll see ya around!


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