Hey Partner, There’s a Snake In Your Boot

In my apartment, you will find a Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl doll. Maybe you’ve seen Toy Story II? If you pull the string sunk into her back and let her rip, you will hear Joan Cusack’s high trill, —Hey Partner, there’s a snake in your boot!

When I hear that gleeful announcement, I think about the snakes that find their way into our boots, and how sometimes, we don’t even recognize they’re there. We’ve finally got that return job interview and a friend rings up to say: —You don’t want that job. That place is a snake pit. (Of course in this economy, we work for free and we work for snakes.) Some folks who ask us out on dates are snakes, our friends say that. And there’s the snake that creepy plumber drives down our tubs, eager to show us the things we shed as he writes out a thousand-dollar bill. I don’t know what to say about the snake that eats its own tail—I think it’s in the same family as the politician snake, the car dealer snake and the snake in the grass junk bond dealer we’d rather not talk about.

There are some 2,900 species–including the burning 4th of July snake–and I don’t know how to watch out for them all, Jessie.

Snake River canyon in northeastern Oregon by Oregon State University Archives.

Over the years, I’ve done my share of hiking. I like to bring along mole skin, plenty of water, and that old snakebite kit. Although I’ve seen a couple of big rattlers up close, and watched one taken out by a rancher and his rifle, I’ve never had to use that kit and I’ve never sucked poison.

The more I think about Jessie’s warning, I realize it would be easy to turn into an Ophidiophobiac, to feel there are snakes in the air everywhere you go. So I pull the string again and Joan enthuses, –Hey, you’ve got to take care of yourself.

One last pull, and she just laughs.

Get your snake on here. Watch the video.

I’m scared.

“Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” Indiana Jones.

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  1. SSSStill, in defense of snakes, Lise:
    my son and I got to help hold a giant heavy yellow Python this summer and
    the snake’s skin felt heavenly– like buttery leather, only very alive, its sinuous complex muscles moving and shifting within our shaky-handed hold–
    We respected that Python as a mighty mysterious beast; its keeper told us cheerfully that the snake had twice tried to strangle him, yet he caressed its long body lovingly as he poured it back into its cage…
    xx E.