Monday, April 30, 2007

Snakes

There's snakes...and there's snakes.....and then there's snakes.

I grew up in West Texas. Rattlesnake Country. Rattlesnakes is honest snakes.

I recall one time me and my two brother's was out hunting. We didn't care what for...we was just hunting. We killed a few tin cans. Shot (at) a few JackRabbits (our accuracy was somewhat lacking) ...and then we came upon a rattle snake.

Honest snake. He reared all back up...hissed and rattled. He was honest about his intentions...he was gonna bite us if we got any closer.

We didn't....what we did do I'll leave to your imagination. Three boys with shot guns...hard to guess huh?

Then there's snakes....

I spent a tour in Thailand during the Viet Nam unplesantness.

When I first got there the First Sargent gave us an "in briefing". During said briefing he mentioned snakes. He said that there was some nasty ones there.

Considering that the place I was at...Utapaeo Air Base...was built mostly on a (not completely) filled in swamp....I could see why that might be.

He told us if we got bit that we were to make a fist with our right hand and start walking toward the medical clinic. For every step we took we were to stick one finger out of that fist.

One step..one finger. Two steps...two fingers... Three steeeeeeeeee.....(thud)

Never GET to three fingers. Deadly snakes. Thailand Two Steppers we called em.

So...given the opportunity...and I was...I opted to Drive Trucks.

Very few forty mile per hour (or faster) snakes.

I also worked the nite shift. LOTS of snakes. Lots of roadkilled snakes.

One of my most favorite tactics was to come upon a snake...literally...(ka-thomp....as my steer tires went over it)...then lock up the brakes. I'd skid across that snake....all eighteen wheels.....erase it.

Lots of snakes.

One time I saw a small to middlin one. Only it's head was smashed. It was maybe five foot long. Being young, dumb and full of sh......devilitry...I stopped and picked up that snake and stuffed it back up under the bombs I was carrying.

I did mention I was carrying bombs? No?...well I was. I drove a truck in the Bomb Dump. Sixteen square miles of stacked bombs. My job (at that time) was to pick up loaded trailers...carry em down to where they were fused..drop em. (that's trucker for unhook....we'd NEVER actually drop a bomb trailer....)...and bobtail back up in the dump and get another trailer.

All. Nite. Long. 12 hour shifts.

Got kinda boring........specialy for a nineteen or twenty year old....which I was.

So I kinda stuffed this snake part under the bombs.

I heard later that they guys who fused the bombs did NOT appreciate it.

When the chains were released from the bombs and they was rolled back to be fused...part of the snake become visible. We had a lot of local Thai's helping all over the base....even in the bomb dump. Some of em had been there for a looooooooooong time. Years. We (GI's)...called 'em zips.

They were very familiar with snakes. Why they were called zips was the supersonic crackling sound they left behind when they unassed the area at high speed when they saw a snake.

The guys I'm talking about were the GI's working along side the zips. THEY had to go chase down the zips...convince em it was ok...and get em to come back to work.

I thought it was kinda funny....the first sargent disagreed......very strongly.

And then.....there's snakes.

Snakes in human form. Deadly when they bite....and they bite you in the back...you don't know it till your career is dead.

We had this older driver pulling for the company I'm leased to. Older amongt Heavy Haul can be purty Grey. He had a ton of experience and a good if not perfect safety record. ..no wrecks...no damages.

He liked to drink a bit before bedtime. Not get drunk or anything...just take a snort or two then curl up and go to sleep. Kinda like some cops I know...and firemen..and farmers...and mechanics....come to think of it....it's pretty common among folks who actually get their hands dirty and do strenuous work. I imagine even doctors and lawyers might have a drink now and then. Or company presidents.

I've heard that Teddy Kennedy has a snort ocassionally.

Apparently it's not OK for truck drivers. Not in his truck. And where can he go if not to his truck. A hotel? ...and how he's gonna get there?

"Taxi....take me to the Hilton".

..yeah...right...on what WE make?

Another driver ..new driver....saw him.

Turned him in to "Safety" (I don't know WHY it's called that...but it is).

The older driver got fired.

..........got fired...for drinking....AFTER he was off duty. He wasn't gonna drive again until the next day. ....after he got a good nites sleep.

Snakes.

There's all kinds of snakes....the honest one slither thru the grass and swamps and bite you on the ass if they get the chance..........and one dishonest and really NASTY one bites you in the career and drives a truck.

..... all you drivers....be careful of snakes.

EvMick
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