The best way to kill big snakes is get them while they are young
NOTE TO READERS: What follows is a column first published in The Meridian Star in October of 1987. In the 33-and-a-half years since that time my opinion of snakes has not improved. While many folks will rush to tell me the benefit of snakes, of which I do not doubt, I quite simply am not very interested. Snakes and I have a history, and it’s not pretty. That being said, let’s take a quick look into the past.
Beware of females asking for favors.
I know that rule, but on Friday afternoon fell victim once again. Connie Thomas, one of our news reporters, walked into the sports office and asked “Austin, would you please do me a little bitty favor?”
Let us note right here that a women’s definition of a little bitty favor and a man’s definition of a little bitty favor are not the same.
Let me explain. A man considers a little bitty favor to be something like pumping the gas. A woman considers a little bitty favor to be overhauling the engine.
Only after I agreed to do the favor did I find out that it had to do with my arch-enemy. That’s right, snakes.
You see, Juanita Newell of the Zero Community had managed to beat to death — which by the way is commendable of her — a 5-foot-long rattlesnake. She wanted someone at The Meridian Star to take a picture of it. A smart fellow in the newsroom refused. You see he was “just too busy.” I should have been too busy as well.
I consented to take the photo after explaining to Connie that she would be beaten about the head and shoulders if that snake so much as wiggled, rolled over, or even pretended to take a breath.
I do not like snakes and they do not like me. We have a perfect understanding.
When I walked out of the front door of the Star and saw the snake, which looked an awful lot like it was playing possum to me, it made the hair on my arms stand up.
My heart almost stopped. Snakes don’t really need poison to kill a human. They can scare the life out of you.
Of course, I have been known to take the life of a snake or two. This summer my 4-year-old stepson and 11-year-old nephew came barreling into the house hollering about the snake that was outside.
I bravely grabbed up the hoe, called the National Guard, and went in search for the beast that was threatening those innocent little boys.
They pointed toward the side of the house. I saw the monster. He tried to hide his 3-inch frame, but I was able to find him. I raked him away from the house and began to chop him up better than any of those slicer-dicer deals you see advertised on television for $19.95.
Yes, I brutally killed a snake.
What kind was it, you ask?
I don’t know. When you chop a 3-inch snake up into over 100 pieces even the world’s top snake experts would have a hard time identifying it.
Was I ashamed of my actions, you ask? No, I answer. If I could have found enough pieces I would have piled them up and set them on fire. Then, after the fire went out, would have run it over with the lawnmower. You just can’t take chances when dispatching a snake.
Why would I kill a 3-inch snake, you ask? Because I do not want to see it later when it is nearly 5-feet long.
Austin Bishop, AKA The Old Sports Dude, has been covering high school, college, amateur and professional sports since 1975. He will be retiring from the journalism business at the conclusion of 2021. He is currently pastor of Great Commission Assembly of God in Philadelphia, Miss. He may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.