Snakes, or ground dragons, are a dangerous and delicious enemy that must be regarded with extreme caution. Masters of disguise, snakes reside on every continent, and have been the gruesome end of many brave outdoorsineers. Easily mistaken for vines, sticks, rope, moving sticks, other kinds of rope, and vines with tongues, they are devilishly difficult to detect. And their deception is equaled only by their danger. Many are extremely venomous. And their danger is equaled only by their variety. Some are so large they can strangle the life out of the burliest of men; some are so small they can penetrate your mind and poison your dreams1.
Still, the tasty rewards of correctly prepared snake meat makes understanding this otherwise worthless species advisable.
Against this enemy the outdoorsineer has one advantage. Very few snakes can read (they do display some fondness for storytelling, but only of the most basic sort — network demographic reports show a preference for procedural cop dramas). They should prove no match for the brave outdoorsman who enjoys high literature (and re-runs of NOVA).
In this section we will learn-
a) How to identify deadly snakes
b) How to identify delicious snakes
b) How to treat snake bites
c) How to shield your thoughts from dream snakes
d) Proper Mongoose Rearing and Training with an Emphasis on Modern
How to Identify Deadly Snakes
Imagine a world where snakes were gentleman and you could simply approach a suspicious vine or moving stick and shout in a manly baritone “Halt, be you snake or stick?” and the creature in question would answer, “Good sir, I am indeed a snake, as you have found me in good faith, I shall sheath my venomous fangs. Be so kind as to split me lengthwise and roast my snake flesh over a spit, for that is what I most desire.” Instead we are faced with the imperfect reality where the offending beast will likely remain silent, or worse, lie. Further, as many snakes disguise themselves as other snakes, it is worthless learning to recognize snake species based on colorings, size, behavior, or habitat. It is easier distinguishing types of Europeans than types of snakes.
Luckily, humans have lived alongside snakes for generations and our ancestors developed a simple test to determine whether a snake was dangerous or not. Known as the Brother Karl test, it was first developed in the early twelfth century by Franciscan Monks, the brothers of all God’s creatures2.
The procedure is very simple and will be understood after a bit of self-reflection.
Everyone has a friend, be it in school or at the office, who is just a little slower than the rest. Most likely his name is Karl, with a K. Now, while no one would ever say it out loud, it is understood Karl with a K is an expendable person. For instance, if the school or office were trapped on a raft, Karl would be the first one eaten. No has to say this, everyone just knows it3. Now, in the twelfth century people did not have schools or offices, they had monasteries4. So, when a snake was found, it was placed in the sleeping Bother Karl’s bed. If brother Karl awoke the snake was deemed safe, killed and eaten. If brother Karl did not awake, the snake was deemed deadly, killed and eaten. It was an excellent test.
Most savvy outdoorsineers keep a Karl with them at all times. Not just for snakes but also to use as a decoy or footbridge. I personally always travel with at least two Karls. As they are very stupid and need little food or shelter, I find they make my journeys much more pleasant. Karls can be obtained at most outdoor outfitters or, if you arise early when the ground is moist, under large boulders and logs.
SELF TEST #73: FIND THE SNAKES
Identify these snakes:
1-6 – Rattlesnakes disguised as ropes
7,12,19 – Adder’s disguised as Rattlesnakes disguised as ropes
9-11, 14, 15, 16 – Ropes
9-11, 14, 15, 16 – Just kidding they are snakes
13, 17, 18 – Worms at a fancy costume party
8 – An eel
How to Identify Delicious Snakes
This is an unnecessary section. All snakes are delicious. If you can identify something as snake and not a bit of moving rope or a stick, it is assuredly delicious. Beware though, snake meat is highly addicting. Methadone clinics the world over are filled with sorry adventurers who could not curb their lust for snake meat5.
How to Treat Snake Bites
Currently there are no known treatments for snake bites. Until recently it was thought prudent to provide anti-venom or to attempt to limit the spread of the poison, by either suction or tourniquet. However, recent research has indicated that the long-term psychological damage can be even more deadly than the bite. Over the years the shame of being tricked by such a lowly creature usually results in severe depression or suicide. This outdoorsman recommends, if bitten by a snake, seek immediate counseling and a warm oatmeal bath.
How to Shield Your Thoughts from Dream Snakes
Impossible. If a snake enters your dream accept death with dignity and grace. Dream snakes enjoy a variety of habitats from the ‘I forgot my pants at the first day of school,’ dreams to the ‘I did not do that huge report and now I have to give a presentation to my boss and I forgot my pants,’ or even ‘I am sitting with my wife and her eyes melt and drip down her face and no matter how I try to save them they slip away from me because I forgot my pants’ dreams. Forgetting your pants is a sure sign that a dream snake is lurking in a corner of your subconscious nearby.
NOTE- The dream snake is easily identified by its black and purple markings and by it being in your dream.
Proper Mongoose Rearing and Training with an Emphasis on Modern Techniques
The Mongoose is the outdoorsineer’s great friend and a terrible enemy to all snakes. With lightning reflexes, sharp eyes, and even sharper teeth the mongoose is a snake holocaust with soft fur. Single mongooses have been known to murder upwards of thirty thousand snakes by adulthood. Why do they do this? Probably due to dares by older, cooler mongooses. It is essential you obtain a mongoose.
While the idea of rearing a wild animal might seem daunting I assure you it couldn’t be easier. I will now take you step by step through the methods I used to train my own loyal mongoose, Snakepocalypse Now6. First I located the nearest public library. Then I attempted to obtain a library card. Three days later I returned with a driver’s license and a proof of residence. The next day I returned with a proof of residence other than the shrunken heads of my condo’s previous occupants7. I used the card catalogue to locate “Rikki Tikki Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling. I checked out “Rikki Tikki Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling. Three years of intense rearing and training loosely based on the life of the anthropomorphized eponymous protagonist and voila, my very own mongoose companion.
Some may argue that I skipped over a key three years in this, my supposedly detailed description of proper mongoose training and rearing. To this I can only respond, achieve the first three steps and the rest will surely come.
- One particularly cunning species illustrates this point. While most scholars agree that Ireland has no snakes (Saint Patrick used the power of Jesus and a large hat to chase Ireland’s snakes into the sea), recent evidence suggests that one species, the Irish Tin Whistle Snake, survived. Undistinguishable from a standard D# Tin Whistle, the Irish Tin Whistle Snake is thought to be widespread – perhaps most if not all of Irelands famed D# Tin Whistles are this snake. Thus, though never actually seen to move or act like anything other than D# Tin Whistles, one might say it is possible that this snake is (or, could be) probably just laying in wait. And this is just one example! [↩]
- Snakes are devote Hindus so while they are gods’ creatures they are not God’s creatures. This distinction is not worth noting. [↩]
- This is called group think. [↩]
- And the plague. [↩]
- Black-market snake meat can be obtained from most reputable back alley drug dealers but presents its own danger. It is often cut with lesser meats. Make sure you have a good relationship with your dealer before you attempt to obtain snake meat. [↩]
- Mongeese are commonly named in the same manner as horses. [↩]
- I insist on using only accredited voodoo real-estate agents. [↩]