Month: April 2010


ophid·io·pho·bia (n) : \ö-¸fid-ë-(¸)ö-’fô-bë-?\ : abnormal fear of snakes

Okay – I think it’s fairly well known that I hate snakes.  And yes – I think you could say I am scared of them.  And the fear quite likely goes some way towards creating that hate.  But – and this is important – it is NOT an irrational fear, and certainly should not be abnormal amongst other rational humans – nay – beings.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say snakes are evil, per se.  Well… maybe I would.  Because if there is such a thing as ‘evil’ – then the whole spirituality thing comes into play, innit?  So – if I was to subscribe to the ideals of ‘good’ & ‘evil’ – then I would point out that the main ‘baddie’ in the first ever (and still overall) bestselling novel – The Bible™ – was a snake.  In fact – the core and genesis of all evil – representing itself on earth as a snake.  So – did the devil choose to portray himself as a snake, because that’s what tickled his fancy (you know his type – listens to heavy metal down in his cave, probably got a tattoo of a skull with a  snake coming out an eye socket on his bicep hidden by that even more stylish red cape) – OR, did he have no choice in the matter – a snake merely being the natural form attributed to him when he appeared in the Garden?  Either way – not good evidence for presenting snakes as benevolent beings we should have any trust for.

But – laying all aside the mythology – down to pseudo-science.  Researching the scientific term for the phobia of snakes – I came across the following:

“Care must also be taken to differentiate people who do not like snakes or fear them for their venom or the inherent danger involved. A ophidiophobic would not only fear them when in live contact but also dreads to think about them or even see them on TV or in pictures.”

This quote had no citations to back this up.  Because it is nonsense.  It is not irrational to dread thinking about them, or seeing them in TV or pictures.  Try thinking of one now!  Slithering, sneaking, sneaking up on you with malice in it’s gleaming nasty eyes so it can bite you with it’s vicious little teeth – maybe poisonous, maybe not – I don’t care, it’s not cool.  And seeing them on TV or in pictures just reminds one that these monsters are actually real.  For really real real.

Immediately following the above – was the following:

“Recent studies conducted have theorised that humans may have an innate reaction to snakes, which was vital for the survival of humankind as it allowed such dangerous threats to be identified immediately”

This  DID have a citation (from the hallowed National Geographic no less) – and makes a helluva lot more sense.  “innate reaction to snakes”, “vital for the survival of humankind”, “dangerous threats” – the National Geographic don’t just take pretty photographs – they know their shit.

Scientific studies people – pointing out that even the not-so-smart cavemen knew enough to be scared of snakes.  Are you dumber than a caveman?  Christ – they didn’t even know how to hang bead curtains at the mouths of their caves.  But – they DID know enough to know that snakes are ‘dangerous threats’.  And – they weren’t selfish.   Sure – Peking Man could have pretended he wasn’t afraid of snakes – and gone to show off in front of that hot Woman X teasing a viper or something – hoping to get back to her place (got one of them new ‘Fire’ you know), but he didn’t.  No – instead, he settled for someone a little dowdier, not so high maintenance.  And he stayed alive – “for the survival of humankind”.  Thinking of the children.  Thanks, Peking Man (sorry – xie xie, Beijing Man).

Snakes are not cool.  They’ve got no legs!  Look at Heather Mills.  She’s got one leg, and she is at a ridiculous level of psychosis, nastiness, and just not-cool.  So, via extrapolation – you’ve got to imagine ‘no-legs’ takes things to yet another level.  A level where the venom isn’t just crazy paranoid rambling – but actual poisonous kill-you-dead venom.  A level where the nastiness isn’t just spewing out bile in crazy television interviews – but sneaking around in the grass, up drainpipes, under beds, in rubbish, kitchen cupboards – and then striking out with nasty sharp fangs.  I would say – A level where the greed isn’t just “I’ve got more money than anybody could spend – but let’s go for more, and some reputation maybe” – but more “there’s a big piece of meat a thousand times my size – let’s kill it and take one bite out of it”.  Except, it can’t be greed.  A snake knows perfectly well it can’t eat me  (Well – an anoconda could at a stretch) – it’s trying to kill me for fun.  Nasty, nasty piece of work.

Snakes are cold-blooded.  You know where else the term ‘cold-blooded’ pops up?  “Cold-blooded killer”.  That’s not a coinicidence.  Snakes are killers, by their very nature.  We already know they’ll kill you even knowing they can’t eat you.  It’s just what they do.  And I don’t think it’s too bigoted to say – I don’t like that.  I don’t like things that just want to kill me – for no reason other than wanting to kill me.  I’m alright.  In fact, some people would rate me above average [citations needed].  But snakes want to kill me!  It just isn’t right.

Now – the whole cold-blooded thing – you might take the logical extension of this, and state “well, by that logic – all reptiles & fishies and what-not are killers”.  Well – yes, you’re right.  Sort of.  They all WANT to be killers.  Only some have the capability.  Take the Tuatara.  I love them – and would become an illegal international endangered species trader in a second if I could find one to purchase.  BUT – I would have no illusions.  If one of those suckers developed venom, or opposable thumbs and tool-making capabilities – I would be murdered within the day.  Just look at all the things in the world that can kill you.  Mammals – plenty of big strong things that can kill you if you endanger their young, or if they’re just hungry.  Reptiles, fish, insects, archnids – heaps and heaps of little things, big things, medium-sized things – that can kill you in various strange, painful, masochistic fashion. Piranha.  Candiru.  Spiders.  Insects.  Electric eels.  Stingrays.  SNAKES.  Not one of these could you stand up against in a fair bout of fisticuffs.  A tiger, lion, bear or elephant – I would give myself a chance of survival with a bit of the old rough-and-tumble, and a fair fight.  But – if that blood is cold, you got no chance – because you’re fighting a dirty little cheat, who probably killed you before you saw it.

So – what are we to do about it?  We can’t just get rid of all the snakes, can we?  YES – we can.  There are estimates that between 35-150 much cooler species become extinct every day.  So – a few species of snake in such a wildly varying estimate range would be alright, wouldn’t it?  Oh yes, oh yes – we can’t just go making things extinct willy-nilly – we don’t know the impact on the ecosystem, right?  Yep – agree wholeheartedly.  However – we know what snakes brought to the ecosystem.  They kill things.  The little ones kill mice, and the bigger ones kill anything they see.  Well – will that be sorely missed?  We’ve invented mousetraps, right?  We’ve invented right-wing pickup-truck driving hunters.  I think we’ve got the whole killing thing covered.  Snakes are obsolete.

And that is what I think about snakes.

By Micheal Kruse Age: 33

Spring struggles to, well…. ‘spring’

So – nearly halfway through April.  Still very little sign of ‘Spring’ – and temperatures are still lower here than in Wellington, every day.  And – the whole eating of lamb thing – going well.  Well as something so inherently ridiculous can really go, anyway.  I am starting to resent the entire Thai people for never getting into lamb.  It’s been less than two weeks, and I really miss Thai food.  And very few places near work have lamb as an option.  None of the ‘gastro-pubs’ anyway, which is probably saving me a fair bit of money.

The only other news is that we have a Katie staying with us.  So – conversations have become much more tangential, and our normal dynamic of “the last person to enter the room gets solid abuse by the other two” has changed, ever so slightly.

And now it’s time for my customary “and that’s about all I’ve been doing – working, nothing, working, nothing” line.

And with that in mind, I’ve been thinking of changing the format of this whole thing for quite some time.  I believe in my very first post – I alluded to the inevitability that this would devolve into a blow-by-blow account of my mundane life – despite best efforts to the contrary.  Well – I finally have a functioning portable personal laptop (fully nerded out with Linux) – and therefore should be able to and inclined to spend some time working online (trying to adapt to non-Windows).  Therefore, I will make an effort to write more stuff which is either “twitter-style”, ie: short sharp and potentially witty – and longer ‘essay’ pieces, most likely complaining about something.  One which has been simmering for a long long time is Snakes.  I have several things I’d like to say about Snakes.  So – I assume you are now waiting with baited breath.  Sucker.