Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Creepy, Crawly Capers


A news feed appeared in my email and immediately sent me back into my childhood which was filled with peril, traumatic & venomous moments. No, I was not molested by my Math’s teacher, you dirty brained readers! I meant actual perilous situation involving dangerous, venomous animals in the plantation my family and I grew up in, though I suspect the Mathematics teacher was a reptile too.

Before that here’s the news headline: “WORLD'S FIRST VENOMOUS ANIMALS IDENTIFIED”

Ha! What has that got to do with my childhood you ask, unless of course, I am over 200 million years old. Why? Read on:

A paleobiologist has identified conodonts—a large group of tiny extinct marine animals that lived up to 500 million years ago—as likely being the world's first venomous animals.

These animals, which lived until about 200 million years ago, are considered to have been jawless vertebrates. Most of their fossilized remains are teeth

Pretty funny name for an animal. I can imagine the innuendoes and the puns the dinosaurs then would kid with the conodonts, “Hey conodonts, how are you guys feeling today? Rubbery? Hahahaha!” Now, you know how they got extinct. Bad jokes and venom don’t mix.

Anyway, it got me thinking about the animals we lived with back in the plantation. Various reptiles including snake, monitor lizard, a kind of supposedly poisonous gecko lizard, domestic but still poisonous lizards and the Lizard King himself, one Mr. Jim Morrison.

Okay, kidding abut the last one though some suspicious characters hanging around, doing nothing, looking dazed and spouting gibberish were staple characters in plantation life, so it could have been him, except he got tanned.

Now, let me get started on the most annoying, and unfortunately deadliest of them all: Jim Morrison. Haha, kidding again. I meant snake. Not just any snake. Cobra. Yeah, you read me correctly, the very name that strikes fear in many plantation dwellers heart. The name that sends shivers down Indiana Jones sturdy spine. The very name that was used for one of the stupidest cop movie made in Hollywood starring Stallone!*

Cobras were everywhere those days. Not unlike email spams earnestly offering assistance to enhance certain nocturnal activity. Many times I recall us kids standing on chairs with mom chasing away the black bugger using mere broom. Usually they are not killed, it is deemed to be sinful to kill a snake unless, of course, they have bitten you. Though there had been cases of snake bite, all of our family members made it through without close encounter of the nastiest kind.

The closest, though, could be one with my younger brother Shubash. Remember the infamous scene of Harrison Ford and the Cobra in Raiders of Last Ark. Yeah, Shubash had similar encounter once except it was closer. I am not sure how he got away, but I suspect it may have involved him not brushing his teeth that morning. My brother, I mean.

The closest brush I had was once when my friends and I decided to take short cut through the plantation to go to the temple for some celebration taking place there. My friends, about three or four of them, suddenly started fleeing away from me. None of them said why, and I was sure I brushed my teeth that morning. It turned out there was a slim, dark, cobra, about a feet and a half long, slithering about half a metre away from me (You don’t use metric systems on Cobra, they are not civilised, same when you say “politicians who have a fluid ounce of brain”). Needless to say, despite the head-up on my friend’s part, I was the first to reach the temple and was furiously theistic that day.

Forget about Cobra. Let’s go one step higher than that! King Cobra!

I have never met one so far. Sure, if I were to meet one, I’d be asking, “Is it true your scientific name is Ophiophagus Hannah?” I know that will be the last time you see me, but give me a break! You give a name from Woody Allen’s movie** to one of the most deadly reptile since that last dinosaur that made a condom joke? But that’s true.

I may have not seen one, but my dad has on many occasions. One of the most scariest was fortunately behind the windshield of a plantation lorry and this big mother actually rose up and stared dad in the eyes, before shuffling off, maybe because my dad has one of the biggest mustache in these part of the hemisphere. Kidding. Though my dad never mentioned it, I feel the King was probably under the lorry about few seconds after the encounter. Other than that, I only heard encounters related by uncles, dad’s colleagues and some wise old men who had imbibed one too many cheap liquor.

So, now you will understand when you say, “hey let’s visit some snakes at the zoo” and I respond with snarling, “Snakes! I hate snakes!!” just like brave and bold Indiana Jones. Truth be told, I was traumatised enough that I can even look at them on TV screen at times. Alright, I can get away by saying that I have “ophidiophobia”, meaning fear of snakes, like Arachnophobia (fear of spider) or Arak-no-phobia (no fear of liquor), if only I can pronounce that damned word.

*at least not as bad being the abbreviation of Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Not kidding, it exists.

** Hannah & Her Sisters. Won couple of Oscars. Could also be a National Geographic series, though.


Reptile follow-up

Creepy Crawler Capers 2

Creepy Crawler Capers 3

1 comment:

dagalti said...

I was working in this start-up company which worked on a client doing analytics on policies relating to the act you mentioned. So they decided to call themselves Cobra Analytics ! :-) Then they sat around wondering why business was dull.

If they had gone for 'Cobra Solutions' they would have atleast attracted some antidote seekers.

There was an error in this gadget
There was an error in this gadget