The serpent in the Garden of Eden
October 5, 2011 2 Comments
I tend to like fur. Not on me, not on my men, but on our pets. But alas, after mice, hamsters, guinea pigs and dogs, David, my 10-year-old son, announced he wanted a snake. Now, I’m a happening Modern Woman and am not scared of snakes. One of my childhood memories was keeping a garter snake in a fish tank until it got out – and then discovering that it was wrapped around the vacuum cord like a lover. Snakes are not slimy, they kill bad things like rats. I love snakes.
Or so I thought. First the debate was on the type. He was fixated on pythons – but after reading about the growing problem (literally) of abandoned pythons in the Everglades and other places, i nixed it. But God – who apparently decided we needed a serpent in our little paradise – literally placed a friend right in our path who was trying to find a home for his … snake.
She’s a beautiful corn snake. I dutifully drove David, my middle child, to the apartment complex to get the snake. It came lightly packed – with a tank and a heat lamp and some ahem, frozen mice. Again, I’m a Tough Modern Woman, and frozen mice don’t faze me. Until she – named Pepe – tried to eat one. Apparently, we didn’t do something right. The frozen mouse was too big, too cold, wasn’t served with the right Merlot, who knows?
But she spit it out to the delighted horror of the children. We tried another mouse. David ran in, yelling that this warmed up mouse came back out with its guts spilling out. OMG.
I felt my resolve waning. And that’s despite the fact that I’m so glad I don’t have to put a live mouse in the cage anymore and experience The Discovery Channel in my kids’ bedroom.
I’m trying to follow the lead of Anne Lamott, who tries to follow in the foot steps of Jesus, and love this creature whom I’m really starting to dislike. After all, the mouse had fur. In Blue Shoe, Lamott talks about struggling with her son’s reptile – which only stars blankly at her or spits up on her. One time, she thought it was dead, but it appeared it was only playing her. She couldn’t get mad, because her son was so elated. That’s the rub of motherhood.
I have to remember my snake can’t eat Cheetos. And I think its sheer carnivore habits is forcing me to face the uncomfortable reality that I’m a food hypocrite. After all, if frozen mice could be made into a tasty taquito for the snake, I’d probably be all over it. The problem, of course, is I really want “minced mice” or “mice kabob” or anything that does not look remotely like a real mouse. Unfortunately, I still have to stare blankly into the PetsMart freezer next to the live crickets and pick: “pinkies” “fuzzies” “small” “medium” and “large” – and they all look like…frozen mice.
And we still don’t have success. Pepe the snake still hasn’t eaten, so I have the added guilt of this newest member of our family apparently not approving of my meal plans. It seems so unfair. I might try giving her Cheetos in a week.