Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Snakes are on the Move - op-ed

Mack Hall, HSG

Snakes are on the Move

Snakes are on the move. I saw my first snake of the spring in my yard the other day. He was a white male of medium height, bald or shaven-headed, aged 50-60, and hadn’t missed any meals lately. He slithered onto the property in a really primo, perhaps new Dodge Ram double-cab pickup, light-colored, with no signs or markings on the side. The security camera was a little fuzzy about the numbers.

And, yes, he, he began with that decades-old script of “We just finished a project over there, and…”


“…leftover asphalt…”


“I gather you’ve had a bad experience with…”


You just can’t get into a conversation with fast-talking snakes; they know all sorts of forked-tongue-in-the-door responses and dodges and come-ons.

You probably know his cousin, that electronic attorney in Nigeria who is handling the estate of a distant relative you didn’t know you had who died and left you all his money if you will only give your bank numbers and…


As the weather grows warmer more reptiles will infest the yard at the front door with their magazine subscriptions (“I’m working my way through college”), the man or woman looking at you through your window in the night and asking to use your phone, the carloads of committees with their strange little booklets decorated with crude drawings of the saved and unsaved, with poorly-written theses only a few brain synapse misfires away from those of the strange little men who assure you that the Second Temple was really an alien spaceship based on a technology that the lizard-something federal government doesn’t want you to know about, and the miscellaneous peddlers who begin with abject pleas of assistant which morph quickly into implied threats as their eyes dart about looking for whatever objects might be quickly picked up on a later visit when you’re not home.

And when you don’t buy their magazines or firewood or ideologies they sometimes tell you that you don’t love Jesus, and that Jesus wouldn’t turn away a poor man down on his luck, so down on his luck that he owns a better car than you do.

All this is only an annoyance for most of us, but for the more vulnerable the cold-blooded can be a real threat, both physical and emotional. Remembering those who are vulnerable helps you say no, and remembering those who have suffered tough times and sought out honest work helps you say no to the wandering opportunists looking for a victim.

Yup, the weather is warming up, and the snakes are beginning to move.


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